Sunday, 26 May 2013

I'm Like My Own Ipod!

Elder Stolk and Elder Hardy off to The Spain Barcelona Mission

Well I hit my hump day yesterday, which is actually so crazy.  It feels like I've only been in here for a couple of days!   I'm really happy that it's going by quickly, I feel like I'm just getting lost in the work and I honestly forget about time, its a cool feeling.
Well it sounds like things are going pretty good at home from what I've heard!  Mom, you've had some pretty cool experiences in Kansas hey! That's so nice to be able to go to the temple and everything, I bet it was so nice!  I heard there was a big tornado there, did you hear about it?  I really love your dear elders you send, its nice to be updated like that!  Oh and thank you for sending a package,  I'm so excited to get it!  I'll try to wait till my birthday, but no promises ;)
Oh, I got a package from Uncle Russ and Aunt Stacie, SO NICE OF THEM :) Such a great surprise, thank you all so much! It was delicious.  The Michelsons sent me a package too, YOU ARE ALL AWESOME!  Thank you so much, I really am so appreciative of that, it meant a whole lot :) I hope you all are doing great!
I'm so excited to get that package, did Aubrey put her picture in it?  I cant wait for those extra O's, I need those hugs from you Aubs!
Okay mom I'll answer those questions for you!
Here are the questions first:
1.  Whatever happened that you didn't see Camilla?
2.  Who is your Branch President?
3.  Can you only take pics on pday?
4.  Do you know anything about your visa?  I called a day ago and the others from your group all have theirs...but not you yet.  Jaime from the travel office thought you might know something before she does.
Here are his answers:
1. They wouldn't let me leave the MTC since I came in the gates...they told her I couldn't. Kinda lame, but whatever.
2. My branch president is a President Hollister. He used to be a pro drummer for Ozzy Osbourne. No joke. But he's the coolest guy ever, and has lots of spiritual thoughts.
3. I can take pics everyday...but trust me, not much time or purpose to take many here. In Barcelona I will though!
4. Nope. One guy headed to Madrid, but I'm not stressing it. The Lord knows where I need to be, and when I need to be there.
Hmm, lets see what I can tell you about this week. Nothing super interesting happened, but a couple cool stories and funny ones too I guess!
You should tell Joe this one. Yesterday when I was playing volleyball, a missionary came over and was like, "NO WAY, ELDER HARDY!!  I'M YOUR BIGGEST FAN, I WATCH YOU ON YOUTUBE!!" hahahaha  And then two others did the same thing in the mail room! The guys in my district were totally I had to explain to them. Anyways, pretty funny.
Another weird story, I was in the cafeteria the other day, just holding a glass, and it suddenly burst in my hand. Out of nowhere. There was one other missionary who saw it happen, and she was just as confused as I was. Either I am Harry Potter, or have some weird super strength. It was so weird.  Long story short, had about 100 glass shards all over my hand, had to go into the kitchen to wash it off.
One last funny story.  Last night after gym, all the guys in my zone were showering.  It's like one large room, with seperate stalls so you cant see each other or anything.  But I just decided to sing a song for fun..and when I finished, they all like begged me to sing more!  So I took requests, and I ended up being in there for like half an hour just singing.  hahaha it was pretty funny, maybe I'll be a pro singer when I come home?  I love singing here, it's like the only music I ever get to hear. Im like my own ipod. I get desperate to hear music, so I have to sing it!
Hey have I told you about my teacher yet?  Hermano Davis?  He has got to be the most amazing guy I've ever met, served in Argentina a couple years ago, married now.  Anyways, he's SO GREAT. He's one of the reasons I was supposed to come to this MTC, I know it.  I wish you guys were able to see him teach, holy.  His name is Jeremy Davis, look him up on facebook!  Such a great guy.
I love you guys. I hope everything is well. I'm so happy you all got my letters! I'm gonna see if I have pics to send you now.
Take care Hardy Clan.
Love, Elder Hardy
Hey one more thing mom. You are right....I did need to learn how to sew :( I did some ninja kick in my pj's last night, totally ripped a hole in the crotch.
(just a note from Mom...we had a big discussion the day or two before he left about bringing some sewing stuff with him.  He was determined NOT TO.  I made him let me buy just  a few things for him to put into his suitcase and told him he wouldn't be sorry!  I can't tell you how this made his mother smile!  And so early on!)
Ps ive gained five pounds! But it's a good five pounds. I'm filling out.  Somehow I have a better sixpack...not sure how that works.  But its working!  I excerise everyday, so I'm gaining good weight. I'm so happy about it.
Mom, i got like 3 compliments on this tie in one day. Success.

Elder Hardy and Elder Stolk
 With the chair perched like this, and that little twinkle in his eye and smirk on his lips,
it reminds me of my little five year old Brycey!  LOVE THIS PICTURE!

Sunday, 19 May 2013

It Was All a Funny Test!

Heyyo Fam Jam!

How is everyone doing?!  I just want to let you know that I've sent like two or three letters home...but they may take some time to get there!  I absolutely love receiving dear elders from you guys, it's so comforting to know whats going on at home! It sounds like everyone is doing great!  

Well I have so much I'd love to tell you guys! I hate not having tons of time to email.  So the language is coming little by little still. I'm able to teach like a 30 minute lesson all in Spanish pretty much.  It's still a struggle, and by the end of the day my brain is exhausted.  I just can't wait to be fluent honestly.  But I should be so grateful for how quick I learn, and how I can retain the information really well.  Me and my companion (he's going to Barcelona too) have taught two new investigators (our teachers) tons of lessons now!  We have them both committed to baptism, if they pray to know the message is true! Its pretty funny in our companion is struggling with the language, so I literally have to translate for him! I have to say "Puedo explicar a mi companero en ingles por favor?" to my investigator, so it doesn't sound like I'm talking in English behind their back haha.  It's a fun time though, we teach great together.

Sundays are pretty awesome!  Wake up, have about three hours of personal study, then priesthood meeting, then two more hours of personal study, then sacrament where I'm the branch pianist!  So I'm honing my piano skills.  Then we have more study, then a devotional speaker, then a Sunday movie in the gym at the end of the night!  Like a Joseph smith movie.

Okay i had my first really cool experience here last Sunday!  We went on a temple walk, and on our way back, there was this young 20 year old ish couple sitting on the temple grounds. They called us over because they said they were curious about what happened in the temple!  Anyways, we ended up teaching them a spiritual 1 hour lesson right there on the temple grounds!  I taught them about the restoration and the plan of salvation and so much more!   I even answered really tough questions so well, I impressed myself.  Anyways, at the end, he pulled out his temple recommend....IT WAS ALL A FUNNY TEST!  It turned out they were engaged members, and this was something they always wanted to do for a Sunday date together!  Such a great idea, and such a blessing to me. I'm totally going to do that when I'm home.  They were both so awesome.
This Tuesday, guess who came to talk to us?!  RUSSELL M. NELSON.  It was so awesome.  You really could feel the spirit enter the room as he came in, I was only like 30 feet away from him when he talked too!  It was so amazing.  He talked all about missionary work.  One thing that I liked that he said was, "Obedience brings blessings.  Exact obedience brings miracles".  I can testify to you guys that this is true!  I've been so blessed here, in tons of different ways.  My testimony has grown so much!  I know I have room to improve in obedience, and as I do, miracles will begin to take place.  One thing that his wife said in her talk was, "We need to pray to find the people who's ancestors are praying for us".  How cool is that?!  We have people rooting for us on the other side of the veil so that we can help their family.  The way I think about it, is one convert, really translates to hundreds with family history work.  Such a cool thing hey? 

Mom and Dad, I am really loving your Dear Elders. I feel so loved out here by you guys.
Dad is right, I really am adapting well here now.  My zone all likes me pretty well, although I get made fun of a lot for my Canadian accent...Americans are so ignorant sometimes...shhh don't tell our American friends! haha But they are great guys, I like them.  Oh and I've definitely learned what to eat or not to eat.  That's for sure.

Okay well I'm going to send a few pictures, so you can see a little of my life here!

Love, Elder Hardy.

PS I LOVE THE TIES. I GET COMPLIMENTED EVERYDAY. No joke. Every single tie, people always want to trade, but TOO BAD. I love them.
Elder Stolk and Elder Hardy at the Provo, Utah Temple

Friday, 10 May 2013

You Don't Know What You've Got, Until It's Gone - Week One at the MTC

Elder Hardy and Elder Stolk
Elder Hardy - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH. I can't put into words how much I really do love you guys. You know the saying, "You don't know what you've got, until it's gone"? Well it definitely rings true here. I miss all of your guys' love, and the fun times we had together before I left.
Luckily I've gotten lost in the work here at the MTC. I am really striving to do my best here, and I know that its beginning to pay off for me. I've been so obedient to all of the rules so far while I'm here...which is surprising I'm sure for you guys, because I was quite the rebel at home ;)   But I have really felt the blessings of my Heavenly Father in this week I've been here.  Through my exact obedience, I have truly been blessed with so many things out here. I feel a unique comforting feeling, despite this huge change in scenery. Another gift I have been given is the gift of tongues. I have grown so fast in this language. I say prayers all in spanish. I bear my testimony in spanish. I greet people and share scriptures in spanish. Its incredible how powerful our Heavenly Father can be, there's no way I could do all this on my own. I've learned so much about this gospel. I have learned to love it, and my faith has grown much stronger already. I wish you guys could meet my teacher, Hermano Davis. He went to Argentina on his mission, so he's got a harsh accent. But he is the coolest, and most spiritual guy ever. He's so great, and I'm learning lots through him.
My companion, Elder Stolk, is from Colorado. Dad, he even beats you for most people in a family. HE HAS 14 PEOPLE IN HIS FAMILY. All natural births. It's pretty impressive hey? Anyways, he's such  a great guy, with a great sense of humour. We get along so well and have gotten pretty close.  We've become great friends in the little amount of time we have had. We have found out that we are both pretty similar too, which is so great. We both play volleyball, so gym time is so much fun for us. We dominate ;)

Well life at the MTC is hard, but its rewarding. This whole MTC thing is actually quite crazy. Imagine a 14 hour school day, all dedicated to things pertaining to the gospel and language. With super strict rules. That's basically what it is. BUT I'M LOVING IT. Being able to have the spirit as my constant companion has blessed me immensely. I can already feel myself personally improving in so many aspects. I'm really growing out here. My testimony is honestly strengthened every single minute.The food is pretty good, even though it tends to cause some traffic jams in my intestines if you catch my drift. Okay that was a little gross, but I hope I got my point across :)   Let's go through a normal days schedule here yes? Basically what happens is wake up at 6:00, get ready, go to personal study for an hour, eat breakfast, more study, companion study, classroom learning with our teacher, lunch, language study, more classroom learning, dinner, more language, then gym, then bed/letter writing time. I honestly have NO free time, except about a half an hour before bed.
We taught a fake investigator this week three lessons. IN SPANISH. It was quite hard, but I just let the spirit lead the way, and it helped me know what to say. I think we did pretty well, even though she wouldn't accept our inviation for baptism...good thing she's already a member haha.  
Ahh so funny story. Two days ago at breakfast I all of a sudden felt soooo sick. I tried to tough it out and eat. I even said a prayer that I'd be able to feel good and focus throughout the day. But as we know, the Lord can answer our prayers in mysterious ways. Immediately after my prayer, I was like, "COMPANION, WE GOTTA GO TO THE WASHROOM NOW". He kinda hesitated, and then I just PUKED.  I like covered it with my hands and all, just into a bowl on my tray. Little did I know, but he has a weak stomache. He like BOOKED it to the other end of the giant cafeteria, and was gagging for like half an hour. Poor guy. He's the one who gets made fun of constantly now for his weak stomache. Anyways, it was hilarious. I should be more careful about what I say in my prayers, I didn't want to puke....but the crazy thing was that I felt PERFECTLY fine after. So whatever, I guess Heavenly Father has a sense of humor too.
Happy Mothers Day Momma. I wish I could talk on the phone with you, I would love that. But I hope you feel my love, I'll be praying for you.
Stay Happy, stay healthy. Be strong, and of a good courage :) 

Talk to you all soon!
Love, Elder Hardy

Sunday, 5 May 2013

One Little Girl Who Adores Her Big Brother.

If there is one little girl in the world who adores her
big brother, it is Miss Aubrey!
And no doubt about it, he adores her too! 
Loves her to bits!

Does things she wants to do and sees things through her eyes!
He's a pretty terrific big brother! 
How thankful we are for him.
 It made for a tender moment when we were at the airport at 4:30 am
saying our final goodbyes and hugging each other,
 and Aubrey would have nothing to do with him. 
Wouldn't look at him, wouldn't talk to him, wouldn't hug him.  Nothing. 
 But he said goodbye to her and he loved her and went out those doors
without the Aubrey cuddles that I am sure he would have desperately loved to have.
I tucked Aubrey back into bed at 5:30 am. 
 Four hours later she came quietly down the stairs,
tears welling up in her eyes and streaming down her cheeks. 
She climbed up on my lap (I was at the computer tracking Bryce's flight online)
and in a small and broken heart little voice said, "Brycey". 
She wiped her eyes over and over again with her little fists
as she and I cried together and let the reality settle in. 
Her big brother had left on his mission. 
On Thursday evening as we sat down to supper together she asked,
"How many more days until Brycey comes home from his mission?"
It hit us all pretty hard that 700 and something days seems like a really long time.
Especially to a sweet little five year old. 
It will be a very sweet reunion when these two get to see each other again.
I am pretty sure that Bryce will get double hugs, double kisses,
and double 'I love yous' the day he returns.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Feeling Blessed to Be His Mom

We had family pictures just a few days before Bryce
 reported to the Missionary Training Center.
I am so blessed to be his Mom.  He has taught me many things
and I anticipate learning much more from him. 
I decided that if we cannot hear from him for eight more days
 that we will use the time to post a few pictures of him with us.
We had a lot of 'discussion' about what shoes Bryce would wear in the family photos.
 He wanted his white (and a bit grubby looking vans),
and I wanted him to pick out a pair of new shoes in tan or brown. 
He ended up wearing an old pair of Chad's.
 Maybe we'll see them in another photo on another day! Aren't family photos just so much fun! 
Well a couple days later when everyone besides me and Bryce was away at work or school
 and I was packing suitcases with Bryce
 and also doing the 'toss, donate, keep til after your mission' thing,
 I suggested he go down to the front hall closet and go through his shoes
 and figure out what he wanted to do with them. 
He said in a nonchalant voice, "There aren't any other shoes". 
He had his dress shoes, his running shoes and those white shoes all packed into his suitcase.
 I burst into tears and hugged that boy so tight. 
It was one of those priceless moments
when your heart is filled to bursting as you are taught by your child
 and the innocent and sweet examples that they are. 
 He has been grateful for what he has, though to some it would seem not enough. 
 He has been kind and understanding and good. 
He knows that value is not in the stuff that we have,
but in who we are and the relationships we have.  
This is just one reason I consider myself blessed to be his Mom.   

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Elder Hardy Day ONE - He Makes it to the Salt Lake City Airport!

Elder Hardy ran into family friends once he landed in Salt Lake City. 
Tender Mercy - no doubt about it. 
Big smile, two thumbs up, a great first day! 
We won't hear from him likely until next Thursday on his Preparation Day.
Eight whole days of waiting and praying he is doing well!