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 

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