Monday, October 31, 2011

Come What May and LOVE It!

Hello friends and family,

Thank you very much for Miranda's address, really appreciated :) The Halloween package is awesome, we are going to break the pinata tonight :)

Our  mission office address changed, so when you send mail, start sending it to:
3250 Strawberry Road
PO Box 226149
Anchorage, AK 99522-1649

I am putting this as the return address for all of the letters I am sending out now to. This will be the address for the rest of my mission for things to send.

Just to give you a run down on Halloween. We are celebrating it today. In regards to proselyting, our p-day ends at 4, then we have dinner. We are supposed to be back in the apartment at 7 for the night. If we have any other appointments, we will go, but other than that, just stay in and do studies.

Well, things in Whitehorse are amazing, a little bittersweet I do have to say tho. All of the members are starting to ask when I leave. I am not exactly sure when I am going to, I just know it is next week sometime, hopefully not Sunday, so I can bear my last testimony and just enjoy one last Sabbath here. After church was over, I was looking around at all of the members, trying to soak in all of the magic I can. My experience in Whitehorse has been amazing. I have learned so much here. It will be very hard to leave, without a doubt it will be. I never knew it was possible to get so attached to a place like this. This week is going to involve a lot of goodbyes and farewells. A lot of members said that when I come back up to visit, I can stay at their place. so when dad and I come back up, we will be taken care of :)

As far as missionary work goes and how things are looking in that aspect, we had another really successful week. Still teaching a lot, having much success in that area. The first transfer with Elder Bowes, we were working our tails off. We were tracting for 2-3 hours a day and having no success. When the second transfer started, things just started falling right into our lap. We proved to the Lord that we wanted to work. We showed Him, through our diligence, that He could trust us with people to teach.

Recently, I read a talk called "Come What May, and Love it" by Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin. I have read it before, but I read it again, because I really like him, he is one of my favorite apostles of Jesus Christ. This talk really gave me a different perspective on trials and affliction. I have learned to love whatever comes. I learned that we are always brought down to the depths of Humility when we are experiencing great affliction and hard times. It is always those times that you are humbled the most. I was really sick on Friday morning. I do not know if it was something I ate or what, but I was dry heaving and was not in any condition to proselyte. I hate it when I am sick on my mission. I missed studies and the whole morning to go out and work. I still got fully dressed in my proselyting clothes, with my tie on and everything, because that is what Bruce R. McConkie did when he was at the end of his life and could not get out of bed, he would still get fully dressed and do whatever he could to serve the Lord, even if that meant reading his scriptures in bed. I am grateful that I have been broken down on my mission, for had I not, I would definitely not be the person I am right now today. I have loved every single second of every minute of every hour of every day that I have been out on my mission thus far. I can definitely see why dad wants young men to serve a mission so badly, why wouldn't you want to!? I love my mission so much and am definitely going to miss Whitehorse greatly, but I do realize that my time is coming to an end and it is another Elder's time to come and spread the gospel here.

I have to admit, I am not looking forward to the 18 hour bus ride again...but like I said earlier, come what may and love it ;) hahaha putting my foot in my mouth here.

Terra, I am so glad to hear about your missionary efforts in the wonderful state of Hawaii. It sounds like you are having a blast over there and I love seeing the pictures. Polynesians sure love to throw parties, they have parties for EVERYTHING. It is awesome :)

The dress pictures looked awesome Bree, you looked beautiful in those. I am really upset that I will not be there for this wonderful even, I was hoping to have a personal interview with Chris and pass him off for you ;) hahaha kidding, I really like Chris, he will be a great spouse.

Summer, those pictures you sent of the kids were awesome. They all looked great! Loved the outfits. I have no idea who the baseball player was that Easton was, but he looked great in the baseball uniform nonetheless.

Thanks again everyone for your support, I love you!!

Elder Hartman1

Monday, October 24, 2011

What Missionaries Do Best

Hello once again, both friends and family.

I have not gotten the Halloween package yet, but I am sure I will get it this week sometime, so do not worry. Also, I need Miranda's current address, I realized that I do not have her home address right now and I need to send her the letter that I wrote a while ago :/.

Another quick note, yes they do celebrate Halloween up here. It is on the 31st. I am not sure how proselyting will work out, I think that they will not have us go out later in the evening because everyone will be expecting little kids and it will be hard to have discussions. So only set lessons is when we will go out.

This week was awesome, we are having so much success in our area right now. Our teaching is still climbing, we are improving every week. A cool experience we had this week. We were out tracting Wednesday morning last week. The first house we knocked on, a very nice lady answered. We talked for a little bit, gave her a Restoration pamphlet, and said we would come back and visit her again. We continued making our way down the street, knocking doors, doing what missionaries do best. Soon after we left her house, however, I started to get the prompting to go back to her. I felt that we did not really complete the purpose of visiting her. As we were coming back down the street, we were going to the car, and still, the prompting was strong. I told Elder Bowes we had to go back to the lady and give her a Book of Mormon. We go back, knock, she answers again, friendly as ever. I basically said that I was prompted to come back and give her this book. She told us that she was legitimately interested and was very happy that we gave it to her. We are meeting with her again on Wednesday, hopefully things will go well!

One of the things I love most about a mission is the rewards for obedience. I know that it is only through obedience that we experience the Lords greatest blessings and inherit everlasting joy. We have to prove ourselves to the Lord that He can bless us with people to teach. In the way we prove it to him is by obeying and honoring the rules that are set for us.

I have been doing a lot of reminiscing lately. I have been thinking about the holidays we would spend together as a family, up at the cabin, the wonderful family vacations we were so fortunate to go on (thanks dad!), just being together as a family was always my favorite part I remember. I had a lot of images flash through my mind, mainly Christmas' at the cabin. I always remember Travis putting together the new toy that one of their kids would get. I remember always hearing Mikelle and her laugh, wherever I was in the house. I remember trying to beat Jeremy at Dr. Mario, but would utterly get destroyed whenever I would try. My favorite times where when we would all end up in the little family room, with the fire going, and just talking or playing a game like catch phrase. I hope that our family can inherit some more memories with each other in the years to come. I am glad that we know the importance of family and are held strong together. I am truly grateful for the Plan of Salvation. To know that our family can be together forever, to know that the end of our mortal life here on this earth, is not the end at all, it is just the beginning. Thank you all so much for the wonderful memories I have. I treasure them dearly and every now and then, open up the chest that contains these wonderful treasures and gaze upon them with joy and warmth, never to be forgotten. I love you all, thank you again for everything.

Elder Hartman1

Monday, October 17, 2011

Power of Prayer

Hey friends and family,

Sounds like things are going great back home. I love the email and support from everyone. A thought I had, to make it easier to answer questions that you have, make a list of questions, that way, it is easier for me to answer and I will better remember them :)

This week was just an overall awesome week of missionary work. The Lord blessed us greatly in His work. Through our obedience and diligence, we were able to find more investigators, have more powerful lessons, and have experienced the Lords blessings firsthand. It has humbled me greatly. That was one thing I was trying to work on this week, was trying to be more humble. I tried to follow Ammon's example, and glory in Heavenly Father as he does in Alma 26, especially verses 11-12. His joy was so great, that it eventually exhausted him later. He gave all of the credit to the Lord, because he knew that it was the Lord who blessed him and sustained him. I hope that I can be made an "instrument in the hands of God to bring about this great work" (Alma 26:3). We taught a lot of lessons and experienced a little of the fruit of our labor. I know there is more in store for us to. Some of it, I may not get the opportunity to experience, but that is alright. I do not like the thought that I have already been here for 6 months already and my time is almost up. It has gone by too fast. I know that it will be very hard to leave when the time comes. Hopefully I am somewhat ready.

I had a wonderful experience during personal prayer a few nights ago. I was talking to Heavenly Father and realized that it has been a while since I have asked to talk to Jesus Christ. I say in the prayer "Heavenly Father, if it is ok, I wish to talk to Jesus Christ" then I heard a voice say "here He is" and the atmosphere totally changed. It was such a powerful prayer. I felt so much closer to Him during that. I felt my Saviors love. I know I did. It was so wonderful talking to my best friend, someone who knows exactly what I have been through. Someone who knows me better than I know myself. Who loves me more than I can possibly begin to imagine. I am so grateful to have the knowledge of the Atonement and to know that families can be together forever. I love the fact that our Heavenly Father wants nothing BUT the best for us. He wants us all to come home. He wants it so badly, he showers us with blessings when we start to do the right thing. He is right there waiting, always. It is so moving for me to think of that. I know that He loves each and everyone of us individually. I love this gospel. I love my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I love my Father in Heaven. Thank you everyone for everything. I love you!!!

Elder Hartman1

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Power of the Holy Ghost

Hello again family,

I am very sorry about the inconvenience last week about sending the letter to the wrong email address and everything. I promise you it will not happen again for future reference :)

This week was amazing. We had a lot of success and our teaching is climbing up too! This area is starting to boil and will soon explode I anticipate :) Yesterday was such an amazing day in particular. It was fast sunday, testimony meeting was outstanding. The spirit enlightened my mind so much during the meeting I could not stand it! I learned so much in that hour about the gospel then I have in a week! It is truly amazing what happens when you do your part, because Heavenly Father 'always' upholds His as well. When you put forth an effort to fast and really ponder things, the spirit magnifies the things you ponder astronomically. As you are aware, we skip 2 consecutive meals for fasting, we were skipping breakfast and lunch. When dinner comes around, we are ready to eat. We were meeting with our new investigators that we have been teaching for the last 2 weeks. Every missionary deserves at least one of these kind of investigators their mission. These are the best investigators I have had thus far on my mission, hands down. They ask inspired questions, keep commitments, and are just a delight to be around, we get along with them perfectly. They were the investigators I mentioned a while back if you remember at all. Anyways, back to the story, we went to their house for the lesson. Nothing has ever smelled to Heavenly when we walked inside. They had the whole thanksgiving dinner ready for us. I will not go into detail, due to excessive drooling that will occur if I do. Earlier that day, I was crazing cinnamon rolls for some strange reason. Well, guess what is for desert? It was so perfect, I almost did not want to eat it.
The lesson we had afterwards was indescribable. The spirit was so incredibly strong in the room, it would have been impossible not to feel it. We were teaching the 3rd lesson, The Gospel of Jesus Christ. I decided to open up the lesson with Faith. After a little bit of discussion about it, they both went really quiet, deep pondering mode. The wife started crying pretty hard, saying that this was a tough subject for her to talk about. Apparently they had had a discussion about this exact topic just the other night. It was just an amazing lesson all around. I hope every missionary who serves has the blessing of experience a lesson like that. I know I spent majority of this email on one particular experience, but it was an experience that had a real impact on me. The spirit was testifying to them throughout the lesson. We had a member there who was outstanding, perfect member to have their at the lesson. I am truly humbled by this experience and I was sure to thank my Father in Heaven for helping us find the elect and assisting us in teaching them as well.
I hope and pray that I will always be worthy for the companionship of the Holy Ghost. Without it, we missionarys are a lost cause. People will not believe what we are saying is true, unless the Holy Ghost testifies to them that it is. 

As I stated a few letters back. I want to say again to dad, as well to all of my family, that I am working hard. I am giving my mission the best effort I can. At times I have stumbled here and there and I have made mistakes. I always try to help improve myself and look for ways to better myself. I am loving my mission. I love it with all my heart and I am forever grateful for your continual support to me throughout my mission thus far. Thank you all so much again, I really appreciate everything you do. I will continue to give it the best I can and make the most of these 2 short years that I can as well. I love you all and pray for you often.

Elder Hartman1

Monday, October 10, 2011

We Are All in This Together

Hello again everyone!

I think I got the package that Summer said she sent to me last week, the one with the recovery drink and everything, I am going to the post office today with the slip to get it :) I also got a letter from Becky and Miranda, that was ever so wonderful :)

Our area is doing really good, things are looking most definitely up for us! We are increasing our teaching every week and we have found almost 2 new investigators every week for the last month! Some are stronger than others, but it is still so great to see the fruit of our labor :) I know that the Lord blessed us because of our obedience. Sometimes in the mornings, it can be difficult to fully dress in pros because it is much easier and more comfortable to study in your pajamas or sweats. I like proving myself to the Lord that I want to be obedient because I know that He recognizes that. He always blesses us for our efforts and diligence. We picked up 2 new investigators last week. They are pretty solid, we taught them the first lesson, with a member there too. I love bringing members to lessons, I cannot tell you how many times the member has saved me during lessons because they can always relate better to the investigator than we can. These investigators ask very good questions, really good questions actually. I do not like saying "I don't know" to a question, but I know that it is far better to legitimately say that then to try and answer a question you do not know and sound like an idiot. At the end of the first lesson, the husband commented how he liked how "human" we were. He explained why he used this term. He has had a lot of experience with other churches and faiths, and one thing he noticed that was common with a lot of them, not all, was how they go through the motions. They literally try to have an answer for every question and try to know everything. He said he liked how we did not know the answer to every question. We did know a lot of answers, but there were a lot of questions too during the lesson. It was really reassuring to hear him comment on that. It is not the end of the world if we do not know the answer to a question, all we have to do is simply find out the answer for ourselves if we do not know it.

I absolutely LOVED Conference. I never thought I would ever look forward to it as much as I did last weekend. I was so excited I could hardly see straight. My favorite apostle (we can have favorite apostles, Boyd K. Packer has a favorite prophet and he himself said it is ok if we have favorites, just to clarify) is D. Todd Christoffersen. I just love the way he speaks and presents himself when he talks. He is so clear and puts things in just a understanding perspective. I also like how easygoing he is too when he talks :) My favorite talk this conference was Uchtdorf's in the saturday morning session, about God's love and relating it to our understanding of the universe. Basically, we cannot comprehend just how much he loves us. Personally, I thought it was his best talk he has given. I absolutely loved it, such a great talk and one that I needed to hear. I was dreading conference ending, I really was. I did not want it to end, I loved it so much. I could tell Monson did not want it to end either. I loved his words as he was closing "we are all in this together". I felt such a brotherhood as he said that. I truly felt that we are all indeed family here on earth.

My love for the gospel has grown so immensely over the last few weeks. It was much needed growth, as I felt a big change in myself towards my outlook on just how important this gospel is to me and my life. My desire to serve the Lord has increased so much and I know that we can achieve no greater happiness than in following the Lords commandments and doing His will. I feel at home whenever I feel His love. I feel at peace and love the serenity the spirit brings when it comes. I hope that I will continue to be able to remain worthy for the companionship of the spirit and will always strive to be as well. I just want my family to know, that I am putting my shoulder to the wheel and working hard while I am on my mission. We are working hard here in Whitehorse, and I will do my very best to continue my diligence throughout my mission and even the rest of my life. Thank you everyone again for the support, it is because of you and your faith that I am able to press on diligently :) I love you and thank you again.

Elder Hartman1