Monday, March 28, 2011

I Love Serving the Lord

Hello everyone!
Well this week was a little better. We had a little more success than last week. Basically, if any success comes my way, I am ecstatic about it hahaha :) We ran into a former investigator, his name is Adaymala, he is from Africa. He wants to come to church, but he is currently in the process of writing his play. That gave us hope to pick up another investigator! It is still hard to see why I am here in this area, success is not a word anyone would use to describe it. I just have to keep pressing on and put one foot in front of the other. I do not mind working, I like to work, it keeps me busy and takes up the day. I am hoping that I will get transferred somewhere different this transfer, but it is up to the Lord. Wherever he wants me to go, I will gladly go! The more I am in this area, the more I learn about myself. I am slowly thinking that I just need to learn some things about myself. I think that the Lord is trying to show me firsthand what my strengths and weaknesses are. It is helping, it is just hard to accept.
 People say that the first 6 months is the hardest, that maybe true, but I just have to put more effort forward. I know it sounds like a lot of negativity, but it is just a trying time in my mission. It is hard how it is at the very beginning, because I had high expectations, but the more I press on and the more I try and continue to have unshaken faith, I know that the Lord will bless me, whether it may not be the way I would like the most, but it is always the best way for me. Thank you for all of the support you are always giving me, it really does help.
I LOVE serving the Lord. I love how my testimony is growing. Although this may sound weird, but I love how we have to experience trials in life, because that way, we can experience the happiness and joys in life. Life would be boring without trials and resistance! Thank you so much for everything you do. I will leave you with my testimony.

I know that this is the true, living church of Jesus Christ. I know that Jesus Christ suffered for all of our sins in the garden of Gethsemane. I know that Jesus Christ rose from the dead after 3 days. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and is has the answer to every question we have. I know that Thomas S. Monson is the living Prophet of our church and receives revelation from God to lead our church. I know that every thing God does is done in Wisdom and it is always the best way for us, even when we may not realize it. I know that Joseph Smith saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ the Only Begotten son. I know that he translated the Book of Mormon and established this church for the last dispensation. I know that families can be together forever, and that was made possible through Jesus Christ. I know that these things are true and I believe it with every ounce of conviction in my body. I say these things in the sacred name of Jesus Christ amen.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Trying Times

Hello Family,

Sorry, no voice recording this week, I forgot to do one and I do not want to record with all of the other missionaries listening so just a letter this week :)

Thank you for all of the support you have been giving me. I am sure that I sounded very disappointed last week, even though I was somewhat. It was so hard, and it has not gotten any better! Jeez!! My comp and I have been trying to visit less actives, but they are either never home, or are not interested. Our numbers are basically all zeros except for 1 less active we did get a hold of. I know it is not all about numbers, but it was just hard to see a blank page. It has been hard to stay positive lately, during this real trying time of my mission. The comfort I get is in the mornings during personal study and praying to Heavenly Father at night. I love praying to Him at night because I feel as if I escape from reality and am talking with my best friend. I keep asking Him what it is He would have me do. The main reason why this is so trying is because it is so early in my mission and the more time goes on, the more I realize that I have to do something that I lack a great deal, take initiative. I know that is my hardest thing to do is to motivate myself and get moving. I would love to have a companion who takes initiative because you know me, I am more than happy to follow. I am slowly realizing that I have to step it up and take on responsibility as a leader, even though I have only been out almost 3 months!
Like dad said, I cannot see the big picture yet, I do not know what Heavenly Father has planned for me. If there is something I have learned though, it is that, everything that God does is done in Wisdom. He is all knowing. He knows each and every one of us better than anyone else could ever imagine! Although I do wish that this would have come as soon, I do realize what I have to do. I, personally, always thought that the Senior companion would handle everything and plan everything out. That is what it was like my first transfer, I leaned on Elder Unsworth and depended on him to show me the ropes and I would gladly follow. Although I do not consider myself a leader at all, I am getting the vibes that I should step up to the position as one. Maybe that is what Heavenly Father has planned for me, maybe it is not. What I do know is that whatever he does, I may not always like it, but it will always be the best result for me in the long run. I know what I have to do and I know that I am right where I should be. What I have to do now is something that I never thought I would do and that is take charge, as much as I would not want to.
This is easily the hardest thing I have ever done, but also the most rewarding. All it takes to give me a boost is a letter from one of you, or a less active who attends sacrament. Just one little thing can turn your whole day around! One thing I have learned about myself is that I do not need a lot to be happy, which I am SO grateful for! I love you, both friends and family! Thank you for everything you have done for me!

Monday, March 7, 2011

"Bear With Patience Thine Afflictions"

Ola family!
Wow, all of your e-mails were just awesome! I cannot believe everything that is happening down there! Very exciting about mom and dad getting the ok on Africa! That is gonna be so awesome!! There is a member in our ward who served in South Africa actually. He said that baboons are incredibly annoying and mean monkeys, they would stand on the side of the road and throw rocks at cars hahaha, that gave me a good laugh :)
This week was a really hard week. We had no success at all. My companion is used to ALWAYS having something to do and being busy all the time. Well, our area is not like that at all, it is incredibly hard to find work. As I have said before, tracting here is utterly useless, as it is in basically all of Alaska because everyone knows who we are and what we are doing here.  I kept telling him that, although we do have to try and work, we have to be patient here too. He is adjusting though, so that is good. Thankfully for me, companionship won't be the difficult part on my mission. The most difficult part for me, as I am sure all of you know, is initiative, and that is what I am working on.
Both of our investigators were not at church this week, that was really hard, I was extremely depressed. We are probably going to have to move Nina's baptismal date again, it's hard, but I just do not feel it is right yet. Hopefully we will be able to set a date that will for sure happen when we meet with her again.
The other night, I was feeling just extremely overwhelmed. I was pleading with Heavenly Father later that night. I just kept telling him, "please, I need your help, I cannot do this on my own. Just show me why I am here. I do not feel like this is where I need to be". I begged with him for a half hour in intense prayer. I was lost. Now, I am not really a believer in the stories about people opening up their scriptures and having a scripture right there for them, the exact one they need. Well, after I had prayed, I went to my study area, started to read my scriptures. I have been reading about Ammon lately (he is one of my Book of Mormon heros :)). I read in Alma 26:27, "Now when our hearts were depressed and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto success". Talk about the perfect scripture at the perfect moment. That has never happened to me before until now. Ever since that prayer, our dinner calender is with all of the people in our ward who have lists of Less Actives they want us to visit. Even the member last night who we were visiting said "I do not know why you have dinner with all of those people this week, maybe the Lord planned it". That right there, assured me that he was listening to my prayer and he answered it.
I know this is where I am supposed to be, I am called to this place, for reasons still unknown. Even though this is, hands down, the hardest thing I have ever done in my life EVER, I really do love it. It is so rewarding and so fun. I love the relationships you build with people and how close you get to them. Kool fact about our mission, we are the highest baptising mission in the U.S., not numbers wise but based on people we find. We baptise almost every investigator we run into because we stay with them for so long. Elder Unsworth and I were talking a while back about Juan's baptism. "If that was the only baptism I had my whole mission, it would be worth it", Unsworth said. I completely agree. There have been some missionaries who have gone home with 3 baptisms, but were praised by everyone up here, said to be the greatest missionaries on this mission. I could not last out here without your support. I am really spoiled cuz of you :). A lot of people say "you have 4 older sisters!?!? That sucks!!" I usually reply "how many letters have you gotten your mission? How many packages have you gotten?" I have only been out 2 months, and I already have more letters and packages than other missionaries do. I LOVE having 4 older sisters, it definitely has its perks. Although it does make me a little more femmy, it does help me able to talk to girls better. That, and I love having tons of nieces and nephews. I love you family, I would never be where I am without you!
What is so great about our Church is how we can realize it is the true Church. All the time, you see other religions changing their believes and practices to appeal to the world, or because they realized it was not right. That is what is so great about our church. Ever since it has been established, it has NEVER changed! That is because there is no need to! You cannot change the truth. That is how we know it is the true church. We are extremely blessed to be a part of that. I am glad I had previous family members who served missions to influence me to serve one. I know this is the true church. No matter what reasons a Basher gives, or what facts scientist give, nothing will ever move me away from it! I always thank Heavenly Father for everything he has given me and for being patient with me thro my mistakes and afflictions. I have no idea how He works like He does, but He does it and He does it right. I love you and I love this church. Take care :)
With Love,
Elder Hartman 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


TJ sent some pictures along with his last letter.
 You can refer to the letter he wrote 2 weeks ago to get the entire
setting for his encounter with this moose.
They also got to volunteer at the Iditarod Dog Sled Races.
They shoveled 1,350 pounds of hay and TJ's eyes weren't too happy about it.
The beginning of the race.

Words from Unsworth

Dear Brother and Sister Hartman,
It was so much fun serving with Elder Hartman. He was a very good companion and i learned alot from him. He helped me to be a better missionary. I am grateful that i got to have the oppertunity to serve with him. I got transfered today and wish i could have stayed another one but i guess that is all that we both needed to give each other. the Lord knows better than I do. i am sorry that this might be a little short of an email. i just wanted to say thank you and that you have a great son!
i get home May 25th so five days before you leave. I am sure if not before we will meet afterward.
i hope you enjoy your mission together. that will be way fun.
Elder Unsworth


Hello Fam!
I forgot to tell you, transfers were this week. We have them every 6 weeks. Unsworth went to Juneau, we were both devestated cuz we were both hoping that he was gonna die in Chester Valley. I honestly could not believe how close we both grew together! We have only been together for 6, incredibly, short weeks. It was rough, we went around saying goodbye to all of the families we would visit and teach. It got pretty emotional later that night, we both were pretty depressed. I am staying in Chester Valley, and getting a new companion to! His name is Elder Ashby, he is coming down from Fairbanks and that is all I really know about him. I have not met him yet, I am going to meet him in a few hours. I do not know where he is from or how long he's been out, all I have really found out about him is that he talks like he's stoned so I will be entertained for the next transfer. :)  Apparently, Elder Ashby is getting a cornea transplant. So I am guessing a lot of hospital visits, imagine that, I do not like going to the hospital AT ALL and even on my mission I'm going to be going there a lot!!! 
Heard about heart felt like it dropped down to the underworld. I was devestated, but quickly over it, I knew that was gonna happen someday :/ what can ya do? :)
President and Sister Dance are leaving in 4 months!!! I do not like that at all!!! It was so weird cuz when I first got here and met them, it felt like I was seeing an old friend. They are both so amazing. It is going to be really hard for me to let go of them. The new President coming in is President Mary I want to say? I could be getting it wrong, when I found out I will let you know.
As far as the work is going. Hard. Our area is tiny! We can drive thro our whole area in 5 mins. It is really hard also because it has been tracted out hardcore. The last 6 companionships before us tracted all the time, so the people know who we are and have answers ready for us. Some are nicer than others, some kindly say "I have my own religion, but thank you" others just slam the door or curse at you. We went on exchanges last Wednesday with the Zone Leaders. Elder Fishburn, the Zone Leader who I was with, I guess LOVED the exchange. I made him laugh a lot throughout the day. One thing I learned about myself is that I am good at helping people relax. :)
Nina is not going to be baptized, we had to move the date back to the 12th I believe. He mothers birthday is on the 2nd and they were going thro some big family problems that week and the mother did not like the idea of her being baptized on the 2nd. We respected that and understood, so it was no problem moving it back. Sister Carol got in a car crash the other day! We visited her in the hospital and gave her a blessing, in the middle of it Elder Unsworth, who was giving the blessing, said "we call upon angels to be with you at this time" and not 2 seconds after he said that, you could just feel people standing in the room. The whole atmosphere changed!! It was so awesome, indescribable! I am sure those of you who have served missions have a good idea of what I am talking about tho :) The next day, we found out that she left the hospital later that night! The crash was not as severe as they thought and she is home now resting!
We had a very interesting experience the other day at the library. I met my first "Bible Basher". This guy was Edgar and he was African American. Basically he was looking for an argument. He tried to start a debate with a companionship, but the Senior recognized it and just said "I would love to talk about our similarities with the Bible, but we have an appointment" he threatened to punch him in the face after that. A little later, he comes up to us and asks us why we are mormons to start off with us. Of course, like every Basher, he whips out the scripture in Revelations about nothing being added to the Bible, I cannot recall it exactly, but it is saying how if you add to it plagues and scourges will come upon you. We were stumpinh him left and right, he would go off on tangeants that didn't even make sense. You can't argue the truth. We talked with him for an hour and a half, he talked 95% of the time, and we talked the other 5% and it was not even a debate cuz we were just simply speaking the truth with short statements and questions. Near the end of the argument, he asked us if we were going to get married. We both instantly answered "yes". He kept telling us not to do it and waste our time. He believes that marriage drives you further away from God rather than closer because you are paying more attention to your wife than him. He looks at a wife and kids as "extra baggage". I, personally, am grateful Terra was not there to give him a piece of her mind, but that would have been great to see. He was saying that a family is a waste of time and that you should never get married. I have a challenge for you. I want you to tell me how marriage has blessed your life personally. I want you to tell me why you are not "exatra baggage", how you are blessed with your spouse. I think, for the most part, the world does not look at marriage as a real priority in life. The world sees living together as good enough and no commitment. It is sad that not everyone will be able to enjoy the blessings we do in life.
It was so awesome, as we were saying goodbye to the Medina's, the family wrote Unsworth a card. It was thanking him for finding them and blessing them with the Baptism and the wonderful lessons. What struck both of us the most tho, was when Unsworth read from one of the little girls "I am glad Jesus sent you to us". Words of a child just always hit home with us, I don't know why. That made me realize even more that we are on the Lord's errand. We are tools for him and messengers, we are converting people to his church, not ours. After he read it, we both sat there for prolly 5 minutes in silence just pondering on the quote, the spirit was so strong. I really do love it out here, it is just the best and so rewarding, even tho at times it seems like it never looks that way.
 I love the relationships you build with everyone out here, such strong bonds with people in such short time!! It is the best and the only way you could ever experience something as rewarding as this is out on a mission. I love it and I hope to get as much out of it as I can. I love you family! You are the best and everyday I think about how lucky we are we get to spend eternity with each other! :) comforting thought. I love you! Hope your having a fun week! I am going to try to send the pictures thro Costco like mom said, hopefully it works! :)