Sunday, August 2, 2015

What You Should Know

My dear friends,
I didn't want you to be surprised or find out through someone else, so here is what you should know. You will no longer find me in New York. You will no longer find me in Utah. I am in Texas. 

On March 18, 2015 I entered the Provo MTC as excited as could be, having done everything I could to be prepared. I had waited and hoped for this moment! And it was fantastic. At the MTC I was the only missionary learning Haitian Creole. With my prior French knowledge, pre-MTC study, and praying for the gift of tongues, I quickly accelerated in the language. With just me and the teacher we moved swiftly and I left the MTC 2 weeks early for New York.

Now comes the hard part. In the MTC I had learned that God trusted me much more than I trusted myself, to learn the language by myself and then leave early. In New York I had to learn that God's plan for my life is much different than the plan I had made for myself. We know that "[his] ways are higher than [our] ways, and [his] thoughts than [our] thoughts" Isaiah 55:9. I know that his plan will be better for me in the long run, but oh boy can it be painful sometimes. What you should know is while in New York I developed anxiety and depression. It broke me. I gave every last piece I had to try and make it just one more simple task at a time. On Saturday July 18, 2015 I returned home to Salt Lake City and a loving family. The next morning I was honorably released for my medical conditions. The next Saturday I moved with my family to Houston, Texas. 

*Anxiety and Depression are real illnesses. Like diabetes, like a broken leg, like cancer, they need to be treated and taken care of. I am not crazy, I have not "lost my mind". In fact I had to learn to accept and remember that I have 'emotional pneumonia'. It's gonna take some time and treatment and real work to be okay again, but I'll get there. Please if you've had a stigma attached to mental illnesses take this as an opportunity to melt it away.

I do not know what God's plan is for me now, nor do I know where it will lead me. I do know that I was supposed to go on a mission, and I figured out it was his plan for it to be shorter than I expected. I thank all of you for your notes, letters, emails, thoughts, and prayers while I was on my mission. Each made a great impact at a fragile time. If you have any questions, please please just ask me whether than wondering. I love you all ❤️

Amanda Hardman

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Long Sleeves in June?

June 29, 2015

It has been raining a lot the past few days making things really cold for June, especially for the end of June! I was wearing a cardigan and my rain coat with the heat on in the car. Pretty funky! The weather says it’s a lot more like summer in Utah with some really hot days, hope you have some sprinkler and popsicle fun :)

This week we met Falicia, a referral from the elders. Her stepdad ordered a Bible and she was interested in learning more about our church. When we went her parents answered the door and were rude and wanted us to stop bothering them, but then Falicia came around the corner and saved the day with a “wait no be nice, I’m interested!” We have taught her twice now and she wanted to come to church but was sick. She wants to be baptized a Christian and is trying to figure out which church. She learns slow and doesn’t ask many questions, but really wants to learn. She agreed to a baptismal date on the first lesson!

We got an update to our area book app and with it came in all the old media referrals! So we have 50 referrals to go through and figure out who they are as well as contacting our current referrals. One of the old ones that came through again was this cute sweet old lady. She lived in this little shed turned into a cottage behind a house. When I knocked on the door we heard this grouchy “I don’t want any of it” then I asked if it was Ann and she totally changed and came to the door with a lampshade in her hand, so I asked if we could help her. She said “Can you help me? Oh yes! Come in”. Turns out she had been trying to put together a light fixture for 3 hours and was so frustrated and angry and was about to take it back or throw it out. So I took a look at it, tried a couple ways, then figured it out and put it together for her :) the rest of the time we were there no matter where the conversation went, she kept bringing it back to how much a miracle that was in her life and that God had brought us there to help her when she about to give up. She was adorable and so funny :)

The zone leaders almost burned down our apartment building! They left a pot of beans going on the stove for all of prime time (aka 6-9) and had taken down their smoke detector. Soo when they opened their door smoke came flying out everywhere, covering the hall, it was bad! The firemen and police came and brought huge fans to blow out the smoke. The hall isn’t bad anymore, but their apartment still smells a lot, and sometimes them from their clothes.

We got back in contact with Miranda for the first real time since she moved to Texas! She was a volunteer at a camp for disabled youth for a couple weeks and we could not get even a phone call in. But she’s at her house now so hopefully we can get her in contact with the missionaries there.
That’s about all for this week, I hope yours have been good!
I love you all so much! Mwen manke ou aussi.
Avèk lanmou,
Sister Amanda Hardman
Sorry no pictures this week :(

Fin Mwa Twa! (End of Month 3)


June 22, 2015

The weather of New York this week: super super humid making you think it’s much hotter than the 86 degrees it is, switching into random rainstorms.

This week I learned to really really appreciate the clean habits mom and dad taught me and how clean of a house and family I grew up in. Explanation story: we worked on cleaning a members kitchen this week for two hours. The dishes overflowed the sink and covered the countertop, there was rotting food under the dishes, the stove had grime covering every inch, you could smell the dirt. We were washing dishes the entire two hours and barely finished them. It killed me every time I went to put a dish that was finally clean away, because it was going into a super dirty unorganized cupboard or drawer. And this was one of the better rooms of the house. Lesson learned: care about the way your house looks and having a clean kitchen especially! Teach your kids little habits to help with the house and make them responsible. I’m so grateful to know how to keep a house and kitchen clean and sanitary!

The puppy story! (last week’s picture) We were knocking and there was a man cleaning a new oven he got on his driveway. He was chill and talking to us and sort of interested. It was his puppy :)
He went to buy his kids ice cream from the truck in the middle of talking to him, so we sat down and the puppy wandered over to us. So I played with it cause it was adorable!

I made noisy casserole for dinner this week and had leftovers throughout the week, it was nice to have a meal that felt like home :)

A girl named Emily who lives in the ward and is home for the summer from BYU came to a lesson with us this week! It was such a great experience actually having a member present, I wish we could get more members to come with us.

We had zone training meeting this week and it was great! We did a lot to prepare for the mission getting Facebook back and switching from President Calderwood to President Reynolds. We had a cereal break in the middle, I’ll send a picture of it. That night an inactive member named Judy and her son prepared dinner for us and it was a feast! It was all really nice and everything had a second option in case we didn’t like it. They are both super nice but don’t remember much about the church, Judy hasn’t been to church since she was 16 except to get her son blessed. Her mother however is super active and she called her worried about what to feed us. Then oh then she told us to make sure we didn’t forget the groceries she bought for us. I was expecting like just a nice little bag, but no! She pulled out four ginormous bags! So much food! We shared half of it with a single mom in our ward who has three boys and the rest we are cooking and using with all the missionaries living in our apartment building.

This week we met twice with Stephanie, the 12 year old daughter of a member of our ward who joined the church about 2008. Her mother has never pushed anything about the church, wanting her to decide for herself. As we stopped by trying to see her mother, we started talking more to Stephanie. We are now teaching her and she has committed to be baptized and is working towards July 12th :) I think I mentioned her last week, she is great!

Two Haitian experiences this week! Sister Layton said “I like your hat” to a girl in the street and she didn’t understand because sheonly speaks French and Creole. I then went for it, talking in all Creole, getting her information, a little about her, and setting up a return appointment! Number two, the Elders have been meeting with two Haitian women but can’t go in the house because there is no man. Soo yesterday they had me go meet with them and talked to them for awhiletrying to figure out what they’ve learned from the elders.

With Father’s Day yesterday away from home it reminded me more to thank my Heavenly Father for everything he does for me as well as my earthly father. We all share the most wonderful Father we could ever ask for, even the all powerful all loving God. Remember to show him your love and gratitude as well :)
Mwen renmen tout ou!
Avèk lanmou,
Sister Amanda Hardman

Another Week in Bayshore, Now Feeling Hot Like Summer


It is very green here! This is what the parkways look like.
It is very green here! This is what the parkways look like.

June 16, 2015

With transfers with have two new elders in our district. Elder Bennet (one of the zone leaders from last transfer) is now an assistant to the president, we now have Elder Ashby instead. He is a red-head Creole speaker who was here in Bayshore earlier in his mission. Funny coincidence, he’s actually the one who welcomed me for all of the Haitian Creole speakers when I introduced myself on the mission Facebook page! He speaks creole frequently, it’s good to hear it more and try to practice. Elder Thelemaque (our district leader) was also transferred. Now we have Elder Sainteran who is Haitian but has been  living in the Dominican Republic for the past 5 years and
started his mission there. He’s cool and is really trying to learn more English.

We don’t have any solid investigators so we have been trying to find people for a lot of our time this week…aka lots of knocking and lookups! Last week you wouldn’t have believed it was June because it was cold and windy, but this week it definitely felt like summer! Oh man it was so hot and humid when we were knocking, buutt I remembered to wear sunscreen so no sunburns :) and then today it’s raining like crazy! we met a whole bunch of Spanish speakers when knocking, it’s amazing how many of them from South American countries met with missionaries and went to church in their countries.

We helped Sister Rivas with her yard again, this week we were weeding. And oh my goodness I have never weeded with sooo many bugs all over before! It was gross. But we cleaned it up a lot, so that’s good! There are a few members we are trying to help get to the temple or back to it and are just held back by tithing. I’m so glad to have been brought up paying tithing and knowing the importance and blessings of it. With how expensive it is to live in New York it is very hard for those who never did or stopped paying tithing to start it again because they are scared if they will have enough. Truly it is a test  of faith, to rely and trust in God over the things of the world.

Two less actives we’re working with came to church! And one less active family that we’re working with the daughter, Stephanie. The mom and older sister were baptized a few years ago but she was not. She’s a super cool mature 12 year old that grew up sometimes going to church, has fond memories of when the elders would come over to teach them, and believes everything she remembers from what they taught and from at church. She wants to get baptized, but it’s hard to have a real lesson with her because her mom is rarely home. We’re hoping to get her mom and sister involved to strengthen their testimony and understanding too.

That sums the week up! I love each of you so much and am grateful to have your influence in my life making me who I am at this point, and your support while I’m here.
Mwen renmen tou ou! Fanmi mwen pi bon pase tou!
With great love,
Sister Amanda Hardman

End of Transfer 1 in New York

June 9, 2015

Transfer two starts tomorrow and I will be staying here in Bayshore with Sister Layton finishing my training like normal! Since i got here she’s been telling me about how sometimes training gets split between two areas or companions and that it might happen to me, but I’m glad that I’ve just got the normal :)

 Happenings of this week: we went to a Baptist bible study on Monday night with an investigator. It was actually pretty good! He was talking about the “cycle of sin” in the book of Judges and it was cool for me to relate to the pride cycle throughout the Book of Mormon. We learn from it in both books of scripture, just another point that shows how they can be used together to learn more. Tuesday and Saturday we ran to the church and back totaling at 3 miles, which should’ve been a lot easier than they were haha. We had to say goodbye to Miranda on Wednesday :( we helped her pack, she had sooo much  stuff !!

A funny selfie shot
A funny selfie shot
Selfie before Miranda moved
Selfie before Miranda moved
We packed 3 big boxes and 3 suitcases! We also talked on the phone with her and the elders who are over her ward in Texas. It sounds like she’ll be in good hands, but it’s still sad and hard to see her go so quickly.

On Thursday we spent a couple hours raking a Sister’s yard in our ward. She hasn’t been to church since February, but she came to sacrament meeting this Sunday! This week was a good one for getting fed haha :) Sister Rivas got us KFC after we raked and that night Kami (another sister in our ward) fed us pizza before we  helped her pack up some things to move. We also got dinner Friday night with a part member family and dinner on Sunday with the Palmers (senior couple in the ward) for the end of transfers. On Friday we had an appointment with a new investigator, who didn’t show, but there was a house inspector there waiting for her too who when we started talking to her happened to be a Jehovah’s Witness pioneer! (That’s their missionaries, they go around in their area in between normal life). That got to be a really interesting situation with both ways
trying to share their beliefs respectfully. We did a pretty good job keeping it from bible bashing but still explaining our views. It’s good to understand how they see it a little better now though! That night we went knocking and found a promising 18 year old girl who isn’t religious because she wasn’t brought up that way, but she wants to be with her future family and is super open minded towards it! Super excited about her :) Saturday we volunteered at a “Global Family Reunion” at flushing meadows park In queens which was cool but low turn out so there wasn’t much for us to do. We got lunch at a Spanish restaurant there in queens with the Hermanas and Jessica, it was good!

Well that’s the week in a nutshell! I love love love each of you!
Avèk lanmou,
Sè Amanda Hardman
p.s. Oh and with staying in Bayshore feel free to send mail to my real apartment address again for the next 6 weeks! :)
With the Palmers- the senior missionary couple

Another Week Gone

Amanda and companion with Miranda at temple for baptisms
Amanda and companion with Miranda at temple for baptisms
Miranda and Amanda across the street from the temple in Manhattan
Miranda and Amanda across the street from the temple in Manhattan

June 1. 2015
Aaannnddd there went another week! I can’t decide if these are going
fast or slow, it depends on the moment hahah.

This week as we were leaving a front porch lesson with a hopeful investigator a solar salesman came up and we talked to him instead of him talking to the family haha. He was 24 so it was easier to be
ourselves with sharing rather than robotic phrases. It was fun and he thought we were crazy because we were too happy and doing better than him at talking to people on the streets about our things. We also go to every house with a vivint security sign because we know they’ve met at least a couple Mormons when they got it installed. We’ve really been trying to do better at working with members so we started trying a new approach this week. We have gone to 3 families houses so far and
just sat down for 15 minutes to see how we can serve them, who they think we should reach out to in the ward, and how they are doing with their personal missionary work. Also this week we have ended up stuck at 3 different old ladies houses for a lloonngg time. They all had crazy beliefs and wouldn’t let us share more than a sentence at a time haha.

Oh man and then one morning we were going out the back little sort of
fire escape metal stairs as always to start our morning run and it had
rained the night before. All of a sudden I went whoosh bam bam bonk! I
luckily caught myself on the railing just before my head would’ve hit
too. Haha I have a nasty big bruise on my lower back now, it’s
interesting working with.

Saturday we were once again at the temple, this time with Miranda for
her first time!  We drove to the mission office (Rego Park) and then took the subway in.
It was soo hot! And then we took one of the wrong trains and were on the wrong side of Central Park…..but in the end we made it! It took a long time in the baptistery, but it’s okay because there was a really cool experience. There was a ward group there from New Jersey and they had
brought win them a man who couldn’t walk. He was once a professional football player in the super bowl, but had a stroke and lost all movement on his left side. It was really hard on him and it looked so painful because the whole side was swollen and super dry. He found the church recently and wanted to be able to perform his uncle’s baptism at the temple. It took 3 people to get him up the stairs and 3 people in the font to help him during the baptism but he was able to do it and he looked so happy because of it :) we got Belgian waffles after at a cart in Lincoln Center. They were yummy, but not quite as good as off the streets of Belgium. On the way back in the subway there were
two people with a whole bunch of buckets, then they started drumming and going crazy with all sorts of rhythms, it was super cool!! It was also super loud and echoey which made me sad because I had to plug my ears. I already had a headache from the heat and the noise was turning it into a migraine :( there was also construction on some of the lines and traffic on the freeway so it took a long time to get back. That night we had 2 interviews/discussions with a researcher from the missionary department. The first was about language study and the second was about some pamphlets they’re thinking about introducing. I hope they do finish the pamphlets because they were nice! My head
continued to worsen though…I borrowed sunglasses on the car ride and made it through a lesson with an inactive recent convert…and then died in the car. First full blown migraine in months.

I love you all so much, thank you for your support!
Avèk lanmou,
Sè Hardman

Sunday, May 31, 2015

A Week of Meetings

Amanda and comp at M&M world May 2015
Sister Hardman and her companion at M&M World the week before.

Amanda at the Manhattan temple with her companion and others
Amanda at the Manhattan temple with her companion and others
Amanda and companion with Linsdey at Manhattan temple
Amanda and companion with Linsdey at Manhattan temple
Amanda and other sisters at the Mets game
Amanda and other sisters at the Mets game
Amanda and sisters and elders at Mets game
Amanda and sisters and elders at Mets game

May 25, 2015

Well this week was super full of meetings and driving! Because of that there was much less time spent out talking to people, and when we were we had very little success. When we go knocking it’s interesting how many people say it’s wonderful what we’re doing, or great to see young people so dedicated to their faith, but will not let us share a message. There’s also a lot of people who tell us to be careful but won’t listen. This week I also realized that I haven’t told you about the ice cream trucks here. They are super excessively everywhere all the time! Apparently they start when the snow is cleared and go all year until there’s too much snow again. They are out and going all day, early morning to late night. The songs get annoying, and then just plain creepy at night. I haven’t tried any yet because Sister Layton is pretty sure she’s lactose intolerant and doesn’t eat sweets.
On Thursday we had a trainer-trainee meeting with the other new missionaries at the mission office. President and his assistants gave good messages and workshops on studies, we had pizza, and then we heard from the senior couple missionaries about the things they are in charge of (mail, cars, housing, health, records, etc). Apparently the mail in the city areas is very unreliable, it depends on the mail mans mood as to whether it will be forwarded or sent back or never delivered. On the island is fine, but there may be some addresses later in my mission that I don’t give you because it’ll be more reliable to just the mission office. That night we went over to Miranda’s with Jessica to help her start her family history. The four of us also had lunch together after church yesterday in Jessica’s apartment.

On Saturday we went to the temple! Lindsey from our ward went back to the temple to do baptisms for the first time in 7 years and invited us to come with her. She is going back to do an endowment session for the first time again next week at the same time that we’re taking Miranda for the first time. We also helped an older lady in our ward who is half blind go back for the first time for a few years. We started weeding her garden during the middle of the week too.

We are at the Mets game today! There’s a lot of missionaries here from all over the mission.

Avèk lanmou,
Sè Amanda Hardman