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 :)