Sunday, April 10, 2016

Rain in the Desert comes in the form of Blessings! :)

April 4, 2016

Dear familia!

Thank you so much for the birthday wishes! And for the birthday package, and most especially the birthday letters! They made my day/ week! I love them so much! I drank them up like water! You all amaze me! I am so grateful for you all!

It was kind of weird to not have Easter Pageant, but at the same time we saw so many other blessings in our area! As we were able to teach our investigators and members! This week I went on my first exchange with Sister Willes, from Burley, Idaho! She is such an amazing missionary! I definitely feel so inadequate to help other missionaries as I am learning to be one myself. At the same time I know I don't have to rely on my own abilities to help these sisters! This week I will be on exchanges every night of our area! It was interesting because I tried to say a prayer in English and it came out Spanglish as it has been a while since I said a prayer in English! I can't even imagine what it is like for other missionaries who go foreign to come back! 

It has been an amazing week here in the Mesa desert through the blessings of Heavenly Father!

On Monday we found a family of 4 who are all so willing to learn! The parents primarily wanted us to teach their daughters so they could make good choices, but now the parents learn with their girls! The 2 daughters are the sweetest girls ever! Monday we were able to teach them, and then also on Friday!

We had zone conference this week, and that is always a great highlight as we are able to learn more about how we can be better missionaries! This time Sister Jenkins talked about how we can better teach children which is helpful, as we begin teaching these families!

For a funny story this week, on Friday we came back to our apartment after the Visitors' Center in the morning to do weekly planning, and the members that we live with redid their patio around their pool so we couldn't walk to our "front" door. Well, we realized we locked the other door that leads into our apartment, so we went to go ask the member for a key. Turns out they don't have one and so they asked their teenage son to get his friend that got a lock picking kit for Christmas. After a few minutes of waiting, Sister Thompson came out and said they got the deadbolt done now they have just the doorknob lock. We lost a little hope because it took them about 10 minutes to pick the deadbolt that wasn't even locked! :) 10 minutes later the guys came out and told us, "We just took off your door, and once you go in we will put it back on." And that is exactly what we did! 

Lately in the visitors' center, several people from Brazil have come in, and so we truly put our Spanish to the test as we try to communicate using our Spanish and their Portuguese!  It is amazing how it works! Heavenly Father always expands our understanding in the moment through the gift of tongues, but after they leave I can't seem to remember how I understood them!

Of course the greatest blessings from this week were all the sessions of General Conference! I love Conference so much and I couldn't ask for a better weekend! We watched it in the Visitors' Center and also the church building. Some part member families watched it in their own house! I loved it all, but a talk that I frequently think about is of Elder Hallstrom's about the I am a Child of God, and also Elder Holland's about not beating yourself up if you can't do everything perfectly. That is an important aspect of the Atonement of Christ, to enable us to do things we can't do on our own. This is one of the greatest truths I have learned on my mission. 

It always amazes me how each person comes to Conference with their own personal questions and every single one is answered in one way or another! The way the Lord is able to communicate what we need through the Spirit just astounds me! The best thing is that this weekend is not the end of personal revelation through modern revelation but just the beginning because we can reread and rewatch all of Conference! I invite you all to act on the answers you received during Conference because I know that you will continue to receive more as you do so!

I know Thomas S Monson is the prophet of God on the earth today. And that the twelve apostles are also called of God. 
I love you all so much and hope you have a great week! Good luck with lacrosse and school and work! I know you will all be able to all that is required of you! Just remember to turn to the Savior!  Remember you are all children of God! And He loves you!

Con amor,
Hermana Hart



Tasty Cheesecake!


The Tradition lives On!
The Cheesecake Factory is in the background.  She has had this cheesecake for her birthday treat for several years.


The Best Birthday Package Ever!



Story time in the Visitors Center!


The Best is Yet to Come!


March 28, 2016

Dear familia,
I am glad you enjoyed Texas! And Spring Break and time together! Thank you so much for the fun box! The Easter baskets were so much fun! And I am excited for next Sunday! But this Sunday truly was such an amazing Sunday, as I got to testify of Christ on the day we celebrate His resurrection! Being in front of the Christus was so special!

This week has been full of so many tender mercies and miracles, especially due to the fact that we were only in our proselyting area for Sunday night! But the Easter Pageant was way worth it! 

Being able to watch the Easter Pageant every night was such a blessing and definitely strengthened my testimony of Christ and His role as Savior and Redeemer. During the Easter Pageant, I had a personal goal to share a copy of the Book of Mormon with someone; I prayed every day and until the end of the weeks nothing had happened that I felt like I needed to share it with someone. On Saturday after the Easter Pageant and I was walking by 8 Stories, I ran in to grab the iPad before everyone came in, well there was a lady in there and I started taking to her. Just asking a few simple questions turned into some really great questions, and I was able to share my testimony of Christ and the Book of Mormon. Meanwhile she didn't seemed to be bothered that I was trying to juggle 2 blankets, my Book of Mormon, the iPad, and my water bottle as we had our conversation. Definitely a kind miracle! I invited her to read the Book of Mormon, and she said she would! It was an answer to my prayers after the trial of my faith all Pageant long! This experience helped strengthen my testimony of prayers being answered!

We had our investigators come to the Easter Pageant during the Spanish night last weekend! And we were at the Easter Pageant so I haven't had the opportunity to watch Women's Conference yet, but I heard it was really great!
As a sister training leader, I pretty much do what a district or zone leader can't do for other sister missionaries. I go on exchanges with them, and if there is any need of extra support or help I am there for them. I have 2 companionships, both of which are English, and this week is my first exchange! So we will see how it goes!  This week we had a picnic at the park so we could get it know each other and also to discuss goals I can help them with! There is a Sister Zimmerman and she is another me with the short time we had together, all the things she said reminded me of myself! I still don't know exactly what I am doing, but I guess that is where the Spirit comes in to lead!

Also a few weeks ago Hermana Loynd and I felt like we needed to find a family of 5 to teach and baptize and so we prayed to find them! After a few weeks of praying we received a referral from the sisters, serving in my previous area, of a family of 7 with 5 the age of baptism! We were so excited as the mom, Tania, started telling us about her children and their ages. As we left the lesson, both Hermana Loynd and I said as she was describing her family we were keeping a count of her children! We are so excited to work with them! And we have a lesson with them tonight! Another answer to prayers! And I have learned the importance of being specific this transfer with Hermana Loynd! 

A funny story for the week would be as we were trying to leave Tania's apartment complex we were going back to our car which was on the outside of the gate because we didn't have the gate code. As we were walking we came to the gate where only cars could get through with a passcode but the gate could move just a little bit. So Hermana Loynd struggled for a few moments to get through the tiny gap, and when I was about to go, a car pulled up and opened the gate and I walked right through! And it made me realize sometimes we have to wait for the right moment to be able to do the way the Lord would have us do them. Sometimes I am guilty for trying to do things my way, just to get them done faster, but I know that the Lord's way is the best way! And we are able to receive even more blessings!

Enjoy General Conference and all the blessings that come from hearing from our latter day prophet and leaders! Don't forget to go with at least one question in mind you would like answered! Because I know and promise the answers will come! 

I love you all so much! Have a great week!

Con amor,
Hermana Hart

The Schyler Car!



This van drove by as we were leaving an apartment complex and it
immediately made me think of Schyler! We followed it for a second to
get a picture! It has horns on the front that you can't see and the
front has Stars and Stripes on the hood!





Another Skype lesson with Kate







Tender Mercies and Miracles

March 21, 2016



Dear familia,
I hope you all enjoy Texas! And spending time together! It sounds like
a great break ahead of you!
This week as been so exciting! So many great lessons and the Easter
Pageant started! On Monday we had a lesson with a less active family
and it wasn't going very smooth, as we tried to teach the Restoration
with cups and they were falling over and it was becoming a little bit
of a disaster. Well thankfully Heavenly Father is able to work through
the Spirit and not plastic cups because the Hermana said that 3 of her
children haven't been baptized but would like them to when they know
it is right for them! Then Michelle, one of the children, was really
excited and asked if she could be baptized the next day! Her mom
explained that she had to learn before she could be baptized. It
was so amazing to see her excitement! They are just the cutest
family!
Wednesday was the first night of the Easter Pageant and it was so
amazing! It was so impressive to see the life of the Savior literally
come to life! Everything that they have on stage is live, including
some sheep and donkey and even baby Jesus! What was truly amazing was
watching it in Spanish on Saturday! It just felt so much more special,
and it was so much fun to be surrounded by so many people that spoke
Spanish! A little tender blessing that night was I was able to
introduce the new Easter initiative video in Spanish to a family who
spoke Portuguese! They understood me but it was a little difficult the
other way around! :)
Also on Saturday, before the Easter Pageant, all of the Spanish wards
and branches in the area come to the park in front of the Visitors
Center and have a huge Spanish pot luck! I wish I had thought to take
a picture of it, it was so much fun! I love serving in Spanish!
And we have another week of Easter Pageant ahead of us too!
What are you doing in Mcgegor and San Antonio? I definitely vote we
come back next year for Easter Pageant!
I am so very grateful for this Easter season and the opportunity we
have to reflect on the life of the Savior and even more importantly
His atoning sacrifice. I know that He lives and that through Him we
can do all things! I know that He so willingly gave His life so we can
live again and have eternal life in the life to come! I know that
because of Him we are able to see our loved ones again! And that our
weaknesses can become strong! I hope you all take a moment this Easter
to reflect on what the Savior really means to you! I love you all and
hope you have a great week!
Con amor,
Hermana Hart



Hermana Hart  and Hermana Aguilar (former companion)


Lizard Adventures


Sunsets and Sunrises here are amazing!

Easter Pageant Has Arrived!

March 14, 2016

Dear familia,

I am glad everyone was able to make it through this last week! And I
know there is only a bright future to look forward to with seeing all
of our loved ones, including Grandmother, again! It has been getting
warm here but not quite 122*! It said that in our car one day after it
had sat in the parking or at the Visitors Center for 6 hours. I think
the highest it has been was in the low 90s a few weeks ago.

This week as been pretty crazy getting settled into the area with my
new companion, Hermana Loynd, but still really great! She has been out
for 7 months, and is such a loving missionary! I definitely have a lot
to learn from her! We both love music but other than that we are both
quite different! And that is okay.  It will just take a little more work
than when I was with Hermana Weight.

I have really only served in two areas my whole mission and so the
fact I have lived in three different places is a little strange! But
being in the VC and being Spanish speaking limits the amount of areas
I can serve in, but that is alright because then I get the chance to
meet the members! Especially in Spanish because the wards are usually
smaller than English wards, and I think that is a great blessing as a
missionary!

Earlier this week we were trying to help Hermana Loynd get to know the
people in this area, and so we stopped by our investigator, Ana's
house. When she opened the door we could see her well organized home,
scattered around because she was looking for a scorpion. She has a
phobia of them and so she was giving directions to her husband as to
where to look, and we took a few minutes to help her look. Sadly we
were unsuccessful finding it, but we used that situation as an
opportunity to teach her about the importance of seeking out God in
our lives. But the greatest thing is that He is so much easier to find
than a scorpion. As a follow up to the story we went over a few days
later for our lesson and she told us that her husband found the
scorpion behind the front door, which I was standing right in
front of! It was just so crazy!

Friday we had our Friday morning Visitors' Center meeting with the
director of the Easter Pageant! I am so excited for it to start this
week! It is the only pageant of the Church about the life of Christ
and is the largest annual outdoor pageant in the world! We are so
blessed here in Mesa! In the Visitors Center we met a family and ever
since children were able to be cast they have been in the pageant as a
family. One of their sons played a part for 17 years out of 19 years
before his mission! What an amazing tradition! They practice every
night and I just get so excited every time I catch a glimpse! This is
such a unique opportunity to invite literally thousands of people to
come unto Christ every night! Saturday we watched them set up all of
the 10,000 chairs which was spectacular to see!

Yesterday we came across an interesting service opportunity as we were
invited to dinner by the members who were signed up to feed us to meet
up with some other members as well. Little did we know we would be
attending a baby shower! But we were able to help them set up for the
party! It is just so much fun to be a part of a culture that doesn't
do such a thing as a "small get together"! I just love it!

But as Easter Pageant heads our way this week, I just want to share
that I know that Jesus is the Christ and that because of Him we are
all able to return to the presence of Heavenly Father worthy! And it
is because of His atonement! What an amazing gift we have been given
in our lives! I just hope you will continue to strengthen your
relationship with the Savior!

Con amor,
Hermana Hart

These will all be filled every night for the next two weeks!


A cute member gave me a shell angel even after I laughed almost the
whole time I was trying to give the spiritual thought, but it was all
good!



My good buddy and mission prep teacher came by during her spring
break! Definitely a little boost to remind me how I got to where I am
now!


Mexican Easter Treat!
Pretty much bread pudding with cheese! And coconut and sprinkles on top!


Finally cut my hair! 9 months later! :)