Tuesday, May 31, 2011

so long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye!!

Today is my last day at home in Encinitas! Sad. These pictures were taken after my farewell talk on Sunday. Everything went super well and I got to say goodbye to some of my favorite people. I get set apart tonight at 8:30 thus ending my correspondence via cell phone, email, internet, facebook.  I'll see or talk to you all when I get back! 18 months will surely fly. WRITE ME!!!!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

i love the temple

“All roads lead to the temple, for it is there that we are prepared in all things to qualify us to enter the presence of the Lord” - Elder Boyd K. Packer

Friday, May 27, 2011

My Dear Daughter on Earth

My Dear Child,

I remember well the day you left my side, wandered through the veil, and ventured forth to fulfill your earthly mission.  I had a tear in my eye when I clothed your spirit in a cloak of love and sent you off to earth.  Be sure that my thoughts are with you now as they they have always been.  I love you with all my heart.  I know your life, the joy and the pain, your grief, your disappointments, your unrewarded efforts, your frustrations and temptations, as well as your secret successes.  Please remember, though, that all that I have is yours, if only you will come home again.

Realize in each of you, I have placed a bit of heaven; no one is exempt.  I love you all.  Each of you has some blessed gift, some talent, some small part of me in you.  Search for it, develop it, use it, and most importantly, share it with others.  If you really love me, then help others find themselves and lead them back to me.  Show your love by serving others.

Repent of your failings and humble yourself.  Make yourself teachable and continually work to improve.  I gave you weaknesses to help you be humble; don't curse me for that.  I did it because I love you.  Be full of hope; don't let discouragement engulf you.  I'll come when you need me.

My child, cease your idle contentions.  Be a peacemaker, for it breaks my heart to see my children fighting.  If only they could see what I have hoped, planned, and desired for them.  My heart breaks as I watch them, but you, my faithful child, and others like you, are my hope.  It is through you that my work must proceed.  You haven't much time and there is so much to be done.  I beg you to get started.  Accomplish the mission I gave you before you left me.  I will help you; I am never too busy or too far away to come to you.  I am nearer to you than you might suspect.  I have so much I would like to tell you, but I can't here.  Come to me often in prayer.  I love to talk with you, my beloved child.  Be diligent in my work and my kingdom shall be yours.  I would love to take you in my arms, but I, too, must wait patiently.  That time will come.  Till then, I leave with you my peace, my blessing, my love and never forget, I am nearby when you need me.

I love you and miss you so very much. And, oh, how I am looking forward to your return again to your mother and me.

All my love,
Your Heavenly Father

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

One week from today...

One week from today I will leave Encinitas. One week from today I will leave my family and friends.  One week from today I will be a missionary. One week from today my life will change forever!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

We Believe...

(the Washington Tacoma Mission "mantra" my future mission president sent me)

 We Believe...
We believe missionaries are emissaries for a King.
They are not just Brian Hardy from Midway, Utah,
or Colorado or California or Cancun.
We believe missionaries are representing the King of Kings,
the Lord of Lords.
By nature, a missionary may be 
fearful, timid, or shy.
However, as an emissary of Heaven, 
they speak with power,
they have a message from the King.

We believe in the power of happiness.
We believe a missionary's smile is the first message of the Restoration that converts will receive.

We believe in the "as if" principle.
We believe that if we're not happy...
if we're not confident...
if we're not a number of things...
if we act as if that quality is already ours, soon it will be.

We believe in the greatness of The Spirit.
We believe in the power of a missionary's testimony.

We believe in the power of the scriptures.
We believe that the scriptures are meant to speak to us in very personal ways.
Often they speak in brief phrases
rather than in verses or chapters or stories.

We believe the Father of us all intended the Book of Mormon to be proof that there is a God in Heaven
and that all the other Holy Scriptures are true.
We testify boldly of that proof.

We believe we all have to learn how to work and how to enjoy working.
Work is not, necessarily, something we are born liking.
We believe the only way to learn to enjoy working is by working.
We believe that this is the most joyous work in the world.
We believe that working hard can cure most of the ills faced by a missionary.

We believe in obedience.
We believe in keeping the mission rules.
We believe in the goodness that is within every missionary.

We believe obedience protects missionaries from the destructive designs of the adversary.
We believe a missionary must obey 
the laws of God, the laws of the land, the laws of nature,
and the rules of the mission to receive that protection.

We believe in the principle of self-discipline.
We believe if missionaries understand correct principles,
they will govern themselves.

We believe that the very purpose of life
is to prove to ourselves that we will be strong.
God already knows our lives.

We believe in getting up at 6:30 every morning.
We believe in being in bed by 10:30 every night.
We believe in studying and pondering the scriptures everyday.
We believe in keeping the car and the apartment clean.

We believe in the individual gifts of every single missionary.
We believe missionaries are all different for a very divine reason.

We believe we can all grow.
We believe that all growth is a bit painful.

We believe in the power of kindness and gentleness.
We believe in being strong as well as being good.
We believe that the Savior wants us to be strong and to bear our burdens like men.

We believe in keeping ever in our minds the great vision of the work in which we are engaged.
We don't believe we are out here JUST "knocking doors,"
or just teaching a particular number of principles in a particular discussion.
We believe we are declaring the great message of the Restoration
in preparation for The Coming which all the Ancients foresaw.

We believe missionaries can be fine, capable teachers.
We believe each missionary can return with joy and success being the benediction of their service.

We believe in what someone called the "corridor principle,"
meaning we must be walking through the corridor before we can take advantage of doors that open.
We must never think a missionary's task is to simply get to the end of the corridor.
The task is to be in the corridor when Heaven's power opens doors,
"I believe in the way...the Lord led me." (Gen. 24:27)

We believe the lives of kind, worthy saints are very effective introductions to the Restoration.
We believe missionaries who know such members can create a fertile and fruitful field in which to labor.

We believe that a failure to commit investigators is a failure to convert.

We believe in the power of nature to testify of the Heavens.
We love the rain.

We love the fact that the Lord says He speaks with the voice of thunder and lightning.
We love the songs of birds and the beauty of His creations,
and we do believe all these things testify of Him.

We believe that areas are never "tracted out."
We believe that we should never say people have had their "chance."
We believe that angels can prepare people to listen to the missionaries.
We believe that circumstances can come into people's lives that will cause them to listen with fresh ears to a message they may have discounted many times.
We believe our mission is to make contact...pleasant, kind, gentle contact...
then to testify with boldness...
and simply allow the Spirit to take root at that time...or not.

We believe there is a divine directive that says we go do the work...then report.

We believe in the power of being a servant.
We believe service can open many hearts and many doors.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A day I'll never forget

This past friday I had to privilege and opportunity to receive my endowments in the beautiful Los Angeles temple.  I originally was to go through the San Diego temple, which happens to only be 20 minutes away from where I live and my favorite temple.  But certain circumstances lead me to the LA temple and I am so glad they did.  What a magnificent and breathtaking House of the Lord!  It's grandeur and design was truly palatial, fit for the King of Kings. My mom was my escort and my Grandfather Ted and Auntie Val accompanied us for the early morning session.

While the ordinances that take place in the temple are to be kept sacred and not talked about outside of the temple, I will say that receiving my endowments was a truly spiritual and gratifying experience that I will cherish forever.  The road to the temple is steep as Satan tries his best to keep God's sons and daughters from entering because of falling to temptation and sin. But I can testify that obedience and faithfulness to rise above the swirling darkness all around us in this frail mortal existence is more than worth it. So much joy, peace, growth, and understanding comes specifically from entering and attending the temple.

My dear friend Shauna gave me this quote about the temple a few days before I went through:

"Your Endowment is to receive all those ordinances in the House of the Lord, which are necessary for you, to enable you to walk back to the presence of the Father, passing the angels who stand as sentinels, being enabled to give them the key words, the signs and tokens, pertaining to the Holy Priesthood, and gain your eternal exaltation."

Auntie Val, me, Grandpa Ted (favorite pal), mom

If I never went through LA I wouldn't have met Eric Bateman, a Pacific Northwest Native! He has an accomplished doctor for a brother, Michael Bateman, who lives in none other than University Place, WA (mission home location). Such a small world.

I've already made arrangements to attend a session Tuesday evening in the San Diego temple. Cannot wait to go back.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

so great

Tonight I attended a missionary farewell dinner held for myself and Cami Bingham, another girl in our ward who is also leaving on a mission.  The Young Women president planned the event and it was hosted at Bishop Rhode's home.  We barbecued and had a potluck style dinner and Cami and I were asked to bring one of our favorite desserts.  She brought brownies and ice cream and I made a strawberry trifle. Three decadent layers of angel food cake, cool whip, fresh sliced strawberries, and vanilla puddin'. yummm.

 Both Cami and I's families were invited as well as the Laurel class and Young Women Laurel advisors to gather together and have a small, intimate missionary send-off that you wouldn't normally get to experience with an entire ward family.  Especially now that the church no longer has technical "farewells" this was a great time to really focus on our decisions to serve missions and express and share our testimonies with the younger girls. Both of our parents had the opportunity to bear their testimonies and share their thoughts about us as their daughters as well as express to us their sentiments about our quickly approaching missions.

The Laurels got to say some words of encouragement and share their own testimonies with us. What a truly powerful and memorable experience!  It's amazing how the even the shyest girl can bring such a strong feeling of the Spirit.  Most of the girls had just become part of the Beehive class when I was a Laurel ready to graduate and leave for college.  I was touched as they told me how much of an example I was to them and reminded me that our actions and words have a far greater reach than we often realize.

Such a great night!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

opening my call letter!!

mom and i
Dad was on business in Germany so I called him as I read where I was going. It was 2:30 am where he was!
I can't believe that today marks one month left before I report.  I got my call on St. Patrick's day. Even though I'm not Irish, I was super lucky. Ha!  It seems like the month of April has come and gone so fast!! I thought living away from home these last 6 weeks working up in L.A. would have made it go by slow, but it was just the opposite. I will start my temple prep class tomorrow and couldn't be more excited.