Monday, December 17, 2012

He's Coming Home

Hello my family and friends,

Life is still good up here in Alaska, serving the Lord is the best
full-time service anyone can ever do. I read a quote in a members home
the other day: "the pay for the Lord's work is not that great - but
the retirement plan is out of this world." How true that is :) I can
already see the blessings the Lord is bestowing upon me - it is almost
not fair, but I will accept with a grateful heart, otherwise it is

Said goodbye to a lot of the members the other day. I am glad to have
finished my mission here in the Meadow Creek ward, the members here
are so loving and I have had  the blessing of forming some good
friendships with them.

Kind of hard to express how I feel at the moment - a lot of mixture of
emotions that is for sure. Please do not be surprised if I seem
incredibly awkward at first, for I will be in the process of adjusting
back to reality.

I had my exiting interview with President on Saturday. At one point in
it, I just sat there in silence acting like I had a question when in
reality I was just prolonging the interview because I did not want it
to end. One thing he told me that gave me a lot of comfort was that he
will 'always' be my mission President. There are four people, whom I
look up to in life, here is the order: Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ,
dad, and Jon Beesley - my mission President. He is awesome, as is his
wife. I love them so much and am so grateful for their dedication to
serving the Lord with all of their heart, might, mind, and strength.

I have been studying a lot on the Atonement this last week. It is
interesting, to me, how that is the core doctrine of our faith, yet it
is the one we have the least amount of understanding. We really do not
know exactly how it works - but we know that it simply doesn. The
thing that has stood out to me is how it, not only covers our sins and
transgressions, but EVERYTHING, all of our shortcoming and
inadequacies - whatever our weakness may be - whether it be spelling,
school, relationiships, work - the Atoment covers all of that. Again,
I am not sure how it does, but after the experience of my mission, I
know that it does just that.

I will end my letter with a part of a song that I love:

"I will be home in a while, you don't have to say a word.
I can't wait to see you smile, wouldn't miss it for the world."

I cannot wait to see all of you again in person. I love you and I
thank you again for your support.....I do not really want to end this
letter, but I know that all good things must come to an end and that I
am needed elsewhere - the Lord has told me so and in the words of
Joseph Smith: "When the Lord commands - do it!"

Love, Elder Hartman

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

One Week Left

Hi everyone!

I have not read any of the inbox mail yet, so if this does not include
or answer any questions ya'll had for me, that is why.

This week was just awesome, we were so blessed with work and being
able to see some of the fruit of our labor. We taught more than double
the lessons this week than we did last. A lot of them were active
member lessons, a lot of good came from doing it, the members in this
ward really like us. My new nickname here is 'short timer' :) don't
worry, it still has not hit me yet actually, I feel like I am going to
always be out here in Alaska serving the Lord - but I do know that I
will soon be called to serve elsewhere. Bro. Herbert, our ward mission
leader, told me 'you are told, in your time growing up before the
mission, that you have to stay away from the ladies; now it is open
season.' Such an Alaskian term, I love it :)

My birthday was great, our district on Saturday had a surprise for me.
They shot confetti at me and had some cake before district tract
started, it was wonderful. I got another Unicorn pillow pet, some kit
kats and a card from everyone. This district is awesome, I am going to
miss it dearly.

We found three new investigators this week. We have return
appointments set up witih all of them this week and members coming
with us to help fellowship. One of them asked a lot of deep doctrine
questions, it was a little tricky to bring everything back to simple
principles and doctrine - the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I did better
learn how to take control of a situation from the lesson, it required
me to 'gently' interrupt the member who was present at the lesson
before he got off on too big of a tangent.

One thing that came to my realization this week was how blessed we are
to have the truth. With the Book of Mormon, one of the things it
clarifies is doctrine and gives us a clearer perspective on it -
especially with the Bible. There was one investigator who did not
believe that anyone has seen God because of a scripture in John 1 - I
cannot remember the exact verse. I asked him about the martyrdom of
Stephen and how he said he saw Christ standing on the right hand of
God. He said he did not know. It was a simple thing, but was a
testimony to me that we have the truthfulness of the gospel restored.

I am not sure if this is my last weekly letter or not, kind of a crazy
thought. If I do not e-mail next week, you know why, but I am pretty
sure I will get to one more time. Next week, this time, is my last day
in the mission. I can honestly testify to all of you that my mission
has changed me for the better. I love my mission.

Love, Elder Hartman

1.  When is the fireside we can watch?  I think you said the 13th -
what time?  Any more details we need to know?

It is at 7 pm here, I keep on forgetting the time difference, on
Thursday the 13th. I gave the link to ya'll in one of my last e-mails,
but if you need it again just call the mission secretary or someone
and they can help you out with it :)

2.  What are you doing this week? (You probably told us in the family
letter - so if you did you can skip this question.

Mainly just missionary work!! :)

3.  What did you do for your birthday?  Did you get your birthday
present on time?  Did you wait till the 9th to open it?

I did open it on time yes and THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!! I LOVED it!! :)

4.  Any special requests for the day you get home?  Breakfast? Nap?
Let us know if you do.

Nope, nothing for me, just being with the family really and adjusting
back to reality...

5.  Are you going to write next week or will you be busy with lst
minute packing etc?

I should be able to write next week most likely :) just expect an
e-mail from me, but if not, you know why :)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Sick Week

 Hello everyone!

Basic summary of this week: we all got sick. It was so inconvenient.
Mainly E. Merrell got down with a bad sinus infection, I think it was,
and had many other problems, starting Thursday and still is having a
bit of a rough time - but he is improving. E. Merrill had a bad
stomach ache Friday morning, most of that day we stayed in and all day
Saturday we stayed in. I got, and still kind of do have, a sore
throat. It is so irritating, seeing as how that is the main way you
work as a missionary is by talking to people so when your voice is
messed up, it is really difficult to testify. I can definitely tell ya
it was a trial of patience for me, seeing as how I really want to
finish my mission off strong and made it a goal this last week to
testify of Christ more often. It was a trial of diligence as well,
reason being is because I had to figure out how to stay productive and
still get work done, even tho we were in the apartment. We used the
phone a lot and got a lot of appointments set up. It was a valuable
lesson learned, after much trial and affliction. We did go out on
Sunday, thank goodness, and taught three lessons and set up a lot of
appointments for this next week. I had several members tell me to take
it easy and that I should rest, but I did not want to at all so I just
tried to say as little as possible during the lessons and dinner
appointments. I ended up bearing testimony at one of them; my voice at
the end of the night was gone, it sounded awful - but it was worth

I did remember, while my companions were sick, how mom took such great
care of me whenever I was sick; she would bring me milk and cookies,
sometime bring me a new movie, and overall just kept on checking up on
me and showing me that she cared. Spur the moment, I did not really
notice, but looking back on it, I see what a blessing it was. I tried
my best to mirror that example and kept on checking on my comps and
trying to think of things to do for them. It was a little difficult at
times, but thro moms example, I was able to serve the Lord by serving
His children. That was probably the lesson I had to learn from all of

Thank you everyone! I love you very much and will talk to ya'll next week!
Love, Elder Hartman

1.  You said that last week was your last week proselyting - why is
that?  Why don't you do it these next couple of weeks?

This will actually be my last normal proselyting week, I was wrong
last week. I am going to finish strong, but with the missionary
fireside and everything, we are going to be busy with planning for
that, then we are going to the temple and some other things I think.

2.  I know you haven't had much time to think about it but what would
you like for Christmas?  A few little ideas would be greatly

I feel bad asking for them. The only wishful thing I want is just and
iPad, but if that is too expensive, don't bother please. I really have
no idea....a phone would be nice. Maybe some coupons to subway haha :)

3.  I thought you were having a Christmas party with everyone there -
when it that? What did you do?

The Christmas party is on the 21st here, I will be gone for it.

4.  What are you doing these last couple of weeks?

Working and spreading the gospel until I leave!

5.  How are your companions doing?  What has been the most challenging
with them?  What has been the most fun?

They are awesome, I love them to death! It has been a little tricky
teaching at times, but we have made that adjustment now. It is fun the
whole time, like I keep saying, there is never a dull moment with
them. They are not too big of fans with being Zone Leaders and doing
the little things that come with the calling: monthly goals, taking
stewardship, etc. But they are doing a great job with it :)

6.  Is there anything you want to especially do when you get home?

Just be with the family. Also, the new Lord of the Rings comes out
sometime this month, that would be AWESOME to see!

7.  What was the hardest thing you had to do this week?

Patiently wait for the sickness to pass and work thro the sore throat.
It made it hard to teach, epsecially when I wanted to say something
the people had a hard time understanding me sometimes, it was a little

8.  Please send me your exact address of your apt.

18607 #24 Park Pl. Eagle River, AK. I THINK that is it, but no
guarantees on it...

9.  Can you believe you will be 21 next week???  Do you feel it?

Not really to be honest, I actually forgot until one of my comps told me :)

10.  Did you gain or lose weight on your mission?  How much?

I have gained five pounds at the moment. At one point I was up
fifteen, almost twenty pounds, but lost it because I was not happy
with it. Now, I am floating around 160 - 165 :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Loving Alaska

Hello family and friends, my people folk,

(British Accent) Oh what joy fills my bosom with this wonderful
opportunity I am now granted to sit down upon a chair in front of a
computer screen to type the desires of my heart and the happenings of
this past week to my family and friends alike; it is a pleasure
indeed. :)

Sorry, just had to get that out :) This week was great! This transfer
is going to go by too fast, we are getting along great as a
companionship; we are working hard, but having fun throughout the day
as well. I will admit, it is easy to see the adversary working hard to
cause a weak finish to my mission - probably why the Lord gave me two
comps :)

Thanksgiving was great, we had a contest to see who could gain the
most weight that day, it ended up being a tie, we gained six pounds -
my goal was seven. We went to the church and ate with the Fullmers, a
huge, well known family here in Eagle River. The family is so big they
reserve the church every year and all of the family members come, it
ends up being around 50 - 60 people! This year there was only about
twenty tho. It was still a blast. We had a lot of desert that day as
we went around visiting other members and less actives.

This is my last legitimate proselyting week, I am going to do my best
to make the most of it. It is funny how some things are just a habit
now almost. Getting up at 6:30 is easier than it used to be, although
it was never easy. Exercising in the morning is a lot of fun and it is
hard for me not to now almost (probably because I do not want to come
home fat either). The schedule is just my daily routine now, hopefully
I carry a lot of these habits home.

I had another great experience while studying this week. I have found
that the greatest studies that I have had are while I am studying the
basic principles of the gospel, not immersing myself in deep doctrine,
I have always learned the most. The most important thing I am trying
to do is strengthen my faith in Jesus Christ and I have made it a goal
this week to testify of Him every day, whether it is at a dinner
appointment, a less active, whoever it is, I have found that I need to
testify of him more often.

We have zone conference on Wednesday. I am training on 'the Power and
Authority of Your Calling' out of Preach My Gospel, on page four if I
recall right. I am really excited for this, I have learned a lot from
it and am excited to help other missionaries realize how much power
they can or already do have. I really believe that missionaries do
realize how much more they can magnify their calling and the power
they are endowed with - if they are worthy. I will let ya'll know how
it goes next week!

I love you all so much! I got the package from Matt and Mikelle, thank
you! Hopefully you did not want me to wait until my birthday to open
it, because I may or may not have already... :) Thank you everyone
else for the continual support and prayers. I love you very much and
am grateful for each and everyone of you. I love you!

My study session I talked about in my weekly letter. It was great
because, basically my faith in Christ grew during that, that is the
best way I can describe it.


I have had fifteen total comps on my mission - almost one for every
transfer, due to all of the trios I have been in. It is unusual to
serve in as many trios as I have, but I love it, never a dull moment,
that is for sure.


We did not have a Christmas party friday night, or at least we did not
go to one, we just spread the gospel that night!


Awesome, we have zone conference on Wednesday, so it will be great to
see everyone :)


Mainly because of the members, they are so loving and nice to us. I am
for sure visiting some if I ever come back to Alaska!


I love them both, I do not love one more than the other. It is fun,
and really easy training them both, they are great missionaries and
know what they are doing :)


Spend time with the family, and then later, my friends.


The people and the missionaries. I will just miss Alaska, the state
itself, it is where I need to be right now and it is going to rip my
heart out to leave.

-Elder Hartman1

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Last Transfer

Hello family and friends,

Well, transfers were this week. Looks like I will be staying in this
area and getting two new companions, E. Merrill and E. Merrell, I am
going to tell everyone they are brothers ;) I already served with one
of them in Klatt actually, I am excited to serve with him again, I
love that kid. They are two new zone leaders so Pres. wants me to
train them on how to fulfill this role, should be fun. E. Dastrup is
going to be training in Wasilla, he is going to be a great trainer no

I have not read any of the e-mails yet, but it is so weird to think
that mom and dad are now home! I wrote last night in my journal that
it does not even seem like they served a mission, as weird as that
sounds. They were home when I left my mission and they will be home
when I get back.

It is really weird that my last transfer has started, and I can
already say that temptation is working too; as in not working
diligently or having a weak finish. I love this area tho, I am glad
that I will finish my mission here. We are going to the Turkey Bowl on
Thanksgiving, way excited for that. Then we have dinner with one of my
favorite families in the ward later that night, I guess it is a huge
family activity night they have where they all get together and have,
I guess you could call it, a talent show. I am looking forward to it!

The sun is out shining bright right now, it is a clear day, about a
solid 9F. I wish it would snow, it is a little weird that we are this
late into the month and have not been hit with snow yet.

In my experience in being a zone leader, one thing that I have really
strived to learn is (1) how to recognize peoples strengths and (2) how
to give constructive criticism. The latter has been really hard
because I am not good at giving contstructive criticism, especially
when it is needed, but there has been improvement. I have learned that
you always start out with something positive, that way you can get
them to listen because if they are not listening, then odds are they
are not really going to internalize anything you say. It is fun
telling others things they are good at tho, you cann really see that
it gives them more confidence and lights up there day. That is
something that I have learned from dad by the way, he ALWAYS was
building me up when he was helping me work on something - it was
always positive. Thro his example, I have learned a lot. Thank you

Well, I should get to the other e-mails I have in the inbox now. Thank
you everyone for your kind words and constant support! I promise that
I will finish my last transfer strong and work 'till the very last day
on my mission. It has not quite hit me yet, that I am leaving soon,
but that is just fine with me :) I love you all and thank you again!

-Elder Hartman1

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Becoming More Like Christ

Hello everyone,

This week went by way too fast. We had ZLC on Tuesday and Wednesday,
probably the best ZLC I have been to on my mission. It was mainly due
to the spiritual ending we had, the testimony meeting. We also did a
lot of activities, so we were able to get up and move around a lot
instead of doing a lot of sitting for the majority of the meeting. Our
zone did pretty good on their goals, we set some higher ones for this
next transfer so that everyone will strive for a higher plane.

I had a cool personal study the other day: I was reading in the New
Testament about when Christ is proclaiming He is the light and life of
the world. I started thinking about how much I want to be like Him,
how He had all of the perfect attributes and characteristics that made
him who he was. I started to think about how he had all of the perfect
characteristics from each color of the color code. His Red was
awesome, I love how straight forward he was with the pharisees and
saduces (however you spell that); He was not afraid to tell the world
at that time the things they were doing wrong. His Blue, when I think
of it, is best shown thro the Atonement, mainly in the scripture
Moroni 7:47, talking about charity. I also loved what President
Uchtdorf said in this last conference, about how he tried to picture
Christ running to and from appointments, trying to get a bunch of
things done. He could not see it. Instead, he saw the Savior spending
personal, quality time with those he was with; everyone around him
felt special. That is actually my desire now, is to help everyone see
themselves the way the Savior sees them. His White is shown thro His
meekness, His humility. I think it sums it up in Gethsemane when he
said 'if thou wilt, remove this cup from me, nevertheless not my will,
but thine be done.' For His Yellow, I like how he lived in the present
and taught others to live in the present as well. He told us to 'take
no thought for the morrow'. I think that is a great way to live life

It is weird that I am coming up on my last transfer, it is really sad
actually, I am pretty sure I am nowhere close to being ready for my
mission to end - but thank goodness it has not yet! Thank you
everyone! I love you all!

1.  How was zone council conference this week?  What was the focus?
Are you still a lone zone leader?

It was great, for sake of time, you can refer to the weekly letter I
sent. Yes, I am still a zone leader surprisingly, I really do not know
why I am, but it is fun :)

2.  Tell us about your new companion.  How do you get along?  Will you
stay together now for the next transfer?

We get along great, I love him. I do not think we will stay together
next transfer, just because I will be leaving in the middle of it OH
BY THE WAY NOTE: our group is doing a fireside and our mission pres.
wife said that family can tune into it, I do not have all of the info
yet, but it is going to be on the 13th of Dec. I will have more info
for you later :)

3.  How is the weather there now?  Did you get a chance to gather a
few little items for  me?

It is pretty chilly, around 20 F. It still has not snowed yet tho...I
have  not gotten the items yet, but I will get them soon!

4.  Did you have a zone conference this week also?

No, it is at the end of the month - hopefully I will not be a Zone
Leader by then! ;)

5.  Are you taking pictures?

Trying to! I have not taken a whole lot...

6.  What was the best experience you had this week?

Probably ZLC, like I talked about in the weekly letter or the personal
study I had. Just the super big spiritual experiences are always
golden moments in a mission.

7.  What was your favorite lesson you taught this week?  What was it
and who was it to? (Not names just descriptions)

Honestly, not sure, it is hard to recall at the moment. Active member
lessons are always fun because you get to go a little more in depth
into the doctrine and the spirit is always stronger in the homes.

8.  What is your apartment like?  Is it warm?

It is great :)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Crazy Week!

Hello everyone,

To say the least: this week has been one crazy week, it would take too
long to explain everything in full, but long story short: I have a new
companion and am pretty much a one man Zone Leader for the next little
bit, this should be interesting. This has been since last Wednesday.
Again, I will just have to explain everything to y'all when I get home
so you can get the full story so if you have questions, just wait
until then :)

My new comp is E. Dastrup, he has been out for about eleven months. He
is from St. George and is about 6 '2, and weighs about 260 lds - he is
a big boy :) We get along great with each other and are having a lot
of fun. Things in our area are going so great right now. We have a lot
of lessons set up this week and are already experiencing such great
blessings from the Lord. We have been working very diligently and are
seeing it pay off. We are doing a lot of Active Member Lessons. We
have been getting great responses from the members; they really seem
to enjoy them. We are working on getting referrals and just overall
teaching more lessons as a whole. I love working with Active Members,
it is so much fun, you build such great relationships and the spirit
is so strong in the home.

We have ZLC (Zone Leader Council) Tuesday and Wednesday this week, we
are going to be talking about how the zones are doing and also
planning for the upcoming zone conference. It is weird to think that I
am one of, if not the only, oldest Zone Leader in the mission now. I
have learned a lot from having this additional responsibility tho, and
it is not all that hard too, thank goodness.

Not sure if exchanges to Nome will work this transfer, sadly; we have
a really busy schedule and it is just not looking too probable.
Hopefully I will stay in this area for one more transfer, but at the
same time, it would be a lot of fun to go somewhere else for my last
four weeks of my mission. Weird to think about, but a lot to look
forward too as well!

Thank you everyone! I love you!

Elder Hartman