Saturday, December 28, 2013

wHaT aRe tHe ChAnCeS?

wHaT aRe tHe ChAnCeS?  

christmas in disneyland was so much fun!  seeing the excitement through hazyl and hattie's eyes was the best gift.  we were able to spend five days in the land of happiness and got to do all that we wanted and then some... i love being with my family and love seeing how much we care and truly want to be with each other. in the back of our mind we were missing one certain missionary who was celebrating christmas in a much different way this year.  we were very excited to be able to skype with tate on christmas from our hotel.

one day while standing in line to ride the pirates of the carribean  a little blonde boy who was possibly three years old reached up and grabbed my hand.  i am sure that he thought that i was his mommy.  his family quickly laughed and called him by name to come back with them in line.  i believe in big miracles... i believe in small miracles and i believe in tender mercies.  i just believe....the name that his parents called him was...TATE.  what are the chances?  who knew that a certain mom was missing a certain missionary and that that simple gesture would mean so much?

i leaned down and told the little boy that i too had a little boy named tate and that he was far away in chile but that i got to talk with him on christmas.  the family quickly asked if he was serving a mission and a conversation followed.  i was very touched by this experience that allowed me to share a little bit of my tate with this family.

i believe...

tate's message...

 I have really been learning patience. Patience is a Christlike attribute that I definitely have had to learn out here considering that everything happens according to gods will and his plan. And that's how life is also. I think god was teaching me a lesson this whole time.  I made the decision to think more positively and trust in gods purposes and his plan. I know things don't always go our way or as we had planned. But if we truly love god and trust him, then we will learn, through patience, why we went through that. I hope we can all try to have more patience with ourselves, others, and especially god in trusting in his plan and learning from the things that we go through.

 Also with the coming of the new year I have been thinking about who I want to become in this year. I have set some goals and things I want to do and develop. I invite you all to make a list of things you want to do or be this next year. And then DO IT. Also merry Christmas and a happy new year to all of you.

 We had a pretty humbling experience as we were entering our house Thursday night. Right as we opened the gate our neighbor yelled for us and started talking to us. He is a man who lives alone in his mid forties and always seems to get home really late at night and from our point of view probably hasn't made the best decisions in this life. But he began to ask us what we were going to do for Christmas because he is going to celebrate Christmas alone. Me and my comp looked at each other and had the same feeling. We told him that we are going to make some arrangements to spend a little time with him. I know now he was most likely waiting eagerly for our arrival and we were probably his last hope. Pretty humbling to think there is a lot of people who will be alone at this time of year.

 So be grateful to be able to be with a family and friends. Thanks for all the support and love that you have for me. It helps me more than you know. Also got my package and all the letters. Have a good holiday season and save some treats for me. Love you all!!

bonus letter...

 this week was really good.  Monday started off pretty decent. We headed to rancagua and got the news that my companion had to rest one more week so that calmed us a little bit that he wouldn't have to go back to Mexico and than we just spent the rest of the day hanging out. 

 Tuesday was pretty cool. In the morning we went and sang some Christmas songs to the people in the hospital. There was like 30 of us so we divided into two groups and sang for about an hour  but it was just a cool thing to do knowing that those people would be there for Christmas and wouldn't be able to leave. Hopefully we helped a little bit. Then we came home and did a BBQ with our neighbor which was pretty funny. He is a good guy just lives the wild life  but i am glad we could keep him company as well.

 Then it came time for our Christmas dinner and we headed over to the members house at 8 and stayed til 11. It was good to have somewhere to go and they are always really good to us and treat us well. 

Wednesday started with district meeting, lunch, and then Skype!! woo!!!  it was good to see you all and talk for a while. Time has flown by and it is crazy to me that when we talk next time I will only have 3 months left. We spent the rest of the day at the church doing nothing again. Only 4 more days of nothing then we can work again. But also changes are coming this week so should be interesting to see what happens. Pretty sure I'm staying but you never know. 

Thursday started in the morning with just studies and then we headed to lunch and ate turkey and mashed potatoes. Surprised me to be eating that  but it was really good. After like always we spent the day in the church doing nothing.

Friday was really exciting for me. We did divisions in the afternoon to work in our sector. It finally worked out that the other elders who live with is didn't have any lessons yesterday so we worked a little in our sector. As well as we went to a ward activity. So it was refreshing for me to get out and work a little bit and teach. I went out with the Brazilian elder and it was a good time. He's a funny kid. Actually he is even funnier when he sleeps. Not joking every night homeboy sleep talks or does something crazy. One night he prayed, did a contact, and then taught us a whole lesson while sleeping. And then Friday night he was dead asleep and decided to do three push-ups and then go right back to bed. We get a Pretty good laugh tho!

 Saturday was a crazy day. We got the changes and like I said I will be with elder arnez from Bolivia. So should be fun. I know him from the beginning of my mission so that's cool. But after we just figured out all the changes and called everyone to coordinate it. So that was Saturday. 

Sunday will be a day of just saying bye for my comp and resting more. And then Monday changes happen.  Love you guys!!! Have a good safe trip home. Also happy late birthday grandpa harding. I love you more than you know and am grateful for everything you do and have done!! Have a good one.

love tate

Monday, December 16, 2013

tate's ornament

tate's ornament...

it is a tradition that started when tyson was a baby.  i can still remember his very first ornament.  it was a blue bear that said baby's first christmas on it.  that is how it all started.  every year tyson and taryn and tate would get a new ornament to hang on the tree.  sometimes there was meaning behind the ornament and other years it was just what i picked up at the store.  as tyson and taryn have gotten married they take with them a box of ornaments.  in that box are memories of christmas pasts.
i have been looking for tate an ornament for this christmas and had not been able to find one that seemed quite right until last saturday when greg and i ran into the perfect find...

tate seems to like to tell tyson and taryn that he is the favorite child.  i think he really believes that he is.  i do know that for all of us he is the favorite little brother...tate we love you...


 so another week gone by. Crazy that Christmas is almost here. Insane. last Monday started good. We had a really chill Pday. In the morning we finished organizing the stuff for the activity and then we headed to do some good old grocery shopping. Bought some granola and milk and eggs. Going healthy these days. Trying to get in shape. Key word trying. Pretty hard with all the soda and stuff they give you but I do what I can. Afterwards we met some missionaries for lunch and then it was straight to Internet and that's when we talked a little. And then it was back to the house and LIGHTS OUT for two and a half hours . Best nap ever. I haven't slept that good in a while. Considering we went to bed at 130 I was pretty tired. When it was time to leave for the sector we went to the church to fill 200 water balloons. Surprising enough it didn't take too long considering I had quite a bit of experience in tying water-balloons a lot of weekends before the mission. 

Then we ended the night with a family home evening at Javier's house and we watched a video about christ's  birth. Lesson learned today from Tyson. I had written to him something about "Xmas". And he told me to NEVER take the Christ out of Christmas. Lesson learned. He is a good brother . That's how we ended the night.

 Tuesday was a really fun day we started with a Christmas devotional. Singing carols. Hymns. Talks. And a video of pictures from the last year of the mission. So that was really cool. And then we went and played a bunch of sports for a while. Then ate an amazing Christmas lunch. My comp busted up his ankle really bad in the sports part so we couldn't work cuz he couldn't walk  so it was a boring night in the house full of sitting around. But that was Tuesday.

We started with our usual district meeting that lasts from 11 till 1 every Wednesday. Then we headed to lunch but my comps ankle was still bothering him so it was pretty hard for him to get around. We ended up heading up to rancagua on a bus and getting an xray. And then we had to go to the mission office to look for a boot for him to wear and then it was straight back to the house. Should be a really long weekend. He didn't break anything. Just sprained his ankle pretty bad so we have to stay off of it for like the rest the weekend. I'm gonna be so bored . But it will all be okay. I'm praying he will be better by Monday. That was my week so I'm sending my email today . Sorry it was a short one and not much happened sitting around in the house all day.  love you guys. 
Also happy birthday Troy!! Have a good one!! 

Elder Harding. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

a cup of sprite...

a cup of is the season of giving...i love this time of year when everyone is more in tune with other peoples needs rather than their own.  today i went shopping for a little girl from my school named maggie. i was so excited to get off work to head out to find her a few gifts with the budget that i had.  for some reason i love shopping for others more than for myself.   i had so much fun trying to imagine what maggie would like and want.  this is a tradition in our family to pick a family or someone and do christmas for them.  this year we are trying to touch as many lives as we can.  we are each doing secret santa for different people.  tate has mentioned in his letters that this is one of his favorite memories we do as a family.  i wish i could be a fly on the wall as maggie opens her presents...i hope they bring her as much joy as this experience brought me...

tate's message...

We did have one experience that changed my week and possibly my life. We visited a convert named Samuel and he comes from a really humble home. They don't have a lot but he loves talking to us about the Book of Mormon and his love for it inspires me. But during the lesson I noticed his parents talking and I noticed they were deciding whether to buy a big bottle of sprite to share with us. Finally the dad talked the mom into pulling together the little money they had to buy us a bottle of sprite. It made me think of the Christmas they will have and the little things such as a cup of soda and how much it will mean to them.

I will be forever grateful for the cup of sprite that changed my view of Christmas gifts forever. It's not what we give or get. But the meaning behind it. Amazing what one cup of sprite can do right?

Hey. It was a gooood week! Monday started off pretty cool. For Pday we just had a bunch of elders over to our house to make some tacos and to eat a lot of meat and rice haha. It was good and it even got a little nap in. Then our day kinda got crappy haha. We had a lot of lessons planned but we just didn't have time. Things came up and we practically had to so other things and it just didn't happen. One thing we did do was have a family home evening. We talked about service. I remember that I read a talk this last week by president monson and it said "if we aren't committed to serving those around us, we have little purpose in this life." So I made a goal to write something down every day that I was going to do to serve other people. Harder than you'd think. But that was Monday in a nutshell for ya.

 Tuesday started pretty good. We took a nice run in the morning and then met a few of the missionaries in our zone at the church to get to know them better. It's good stuff to know a little bit more about everyone and try to help them. After we ate lunch in the house and then took a little nap again. So nice ha. The day went pretty well after lunch. We had a lesson with Alicia who will get baptized Saturday and a good lesson with the three who got baptized this last weekend. All is well over here in centinela San Fernando. We are seeing miracles daily and actually found a really nice family to start working with so that was cool as well. We ended the night with meeting with our ward mission leader and our branch president and it was good to talk about some things they can do to help us and what we can do to help them.  I really love the people down here and it will be a good Christmas here. 

Wednesday was a torched. So hot ha We started with district meeting in the morning and then me and elder chagoyan headed to a German sandwich place for lunch cuz we didn't have lunch haha. It was really good! Then we made it back to the house to relax for a while. And then the day started. We started by visiting a girl named Deniss. She is eleven but has the attitude of a 25 year old haha. She yells at us sometimes. She got baptized like 4 months ago but man is she a fireball. Then we had a really sad lesson. We visited a girl named Nazareth. She was going to get baptized but something happened and she decided not to and we don't know how to help her. She told us she doesn't really want anything anymore so it was sad to see someone get so close to blessings and then not choose it. But after we found an awesome family. They are really nice and excited to learn about Christ. So it will be cool to teach them. We ended the night with a family home evening with Alicia and her member neighbors. She had her interview tomorrow so she is nervous. I think she will do fine. We got back to the house and planned. By the way I hate planning while sweating :) but I'll get over it someday. After all it just gots hotter from here.

Thursday went really well for us. We started again by getting to know a few of the missionaries in the zone a little bit better and then we went to our lunch but they weren't home so we went home and cooked spaghetti and hamburgers. Afterwards we had the baptismal interview with Alicia and she passed. So she will get baptized Saturday. She is awesome and really excited. Afterwards we went and had a lesson with one of the recent converts named scarlet. She is 9 but is way awesome. Ha she teaches us the lessons. Plus we are helping her mom come back to church. Afterwards we had to run to the church again because my comp was doing an interview with someone and so I just hung out in the church for like an hour doing nothing but reading my scriptures. Then we went and found a lady named Ana. Who told us she was going to be like our mom and that she wanted to learn about the gospel. Haha she was way nice and I hope we can help her. Also she is a chef so also excited for food. We ended the night with a lesson with Maria. A girl who is 17 that is hoping to get baptized this month also. She is awesome. We taught her the word of wisdom and she accepted it so it went well. That was how we ended our day. Another day another dollar.

Friday was a day full of so many things to do and not a lot of time. We didn't even get to study cu we left the house at 9 to go rent a soccer field to use for a big activity we are doing as a mission. And then we went to a little pueblo called chimbarongo to talk with the missionaries there and get to know them better. Lunch was really good and we ate with one of my favorite families down here. She always gives us mashed potatoes so I'm happy with that. After lunch we had our last lesson with Alicia before her baptism. We got everything ready and it was cool to see how excited she was to start her life over and be a new person. No greater feeling than being forgiven for the things we have done wrong in this life. Afterwards we had a lesson with two kids who got baptized together as best friends. They were funny but it was the same little girl who yells at us. Haha she is a punk. But then we had to go get ready for soccer. I was goalie again :( haha. I guess I didn't perform to there standards last time. 3 goals wasn't good enough

 Saturday was an interesting day. We started off with some really good studies and then had some service for a member in the ward (video I sent home). She is one of the strongest people I know. She has cancer but is always happy and always willing to help whenever. Even if she had chemo that same day she would do anything for us. We stained her garage and planted some plants for her and then she asked us of we were going to eat Chinese food with her and her family....the problem was that we already had lunch planned with another member. But me and my comp came up with an amazing idea to eat lunch twice. :) hahah. So we ate Chinese food...a lot. And then we headed to the other lunch and here is where the other video comes in. We ate either kidney or liver. Not sure which one and I'm not sure if I really ever want to know. But let's just say it wasn't good. 

Definitely. Good experience tho. Then came the baptism and when we got to the chapel the font was like an inch deep so we had to wait a whole hour to start but it ended up being a good baptismal service other than my comp throwing up and all. Afterwards we just went home. He slept. I tried but couldn't so I read like 50 pages in the Book of Mormon and 5 hours later it was time for bed. No more two lunch days for us. Ha but it was still cool. 

Sunday was a good day but we didn't get much accomplished haha. We went to church. Alicia got confirmed a member and then we ate lunch and then planned for 2 hours. And then we had to go do computer stuff for the zone so that took quite a bit of time. And that was about it

Well that's it for this week. Love you guys.   Elder Harding

Monday, December 2, 2013

a pair of pants...

a pair of pants...

the year was 1996...the place was indiana...the missionary was elder travis john kunz.  a white pair of pants worn to baptize the people of indiana  into the church of jesus christ of latter day saints.  fast forward to the year 2013...the place rancagua chile...the missionary is tate john harding.  the same pair of white pants being worn to baptize the people of rancagua chile into the church of jesus christ of latter day saints.

tate's message... I was getting out my baptismal stuff for the afternoon. I pulled out a pair of white baptismal pants and then I remembered who had worn them before me. I remembered that those pants were worn by good old Travy John. So that made the baptisms even more special.

 Monday was a really fun Pday. We got together with the zone and had a water activity. Water balloon volleyball and all sorts of other games. It was pretty fun. Then me and chagoyan headed to send off my package to you guys so be looking for that here in a little. After we just went to do internet and shopping and then went home to rest. Monday ended up being a decent night in the sector too. Started off by taking more food to that family who doesn't have a lot. And then we had a couple lessons and ended it by eating a completo in the street.(that hot dog thing with a million toppings)  That's a successful end to the day.

 Tuesday was a mission home day and about nothing else ha. We got up early and took a bus to rancagua to get to the mission house to waffles and pancakes waiting!! Gotta love the perks. Then for the next 4 hours we listened to president and the assistants talk about the vision for the mission this month. I always leave that place so mentally tired from receiving so much information. We also ate lunch there. Lasagna. And then we left and took a bus back to San Fernando but on the way my comp started to not feel very good so we just stayed in the house till about 8 and then went to a meeting with our ward mission leader. So that was a wrap for Tuesday.

 Wednesday was the day where we teach all the other missionaries the stuff we learned Tuesday. So that's how we started and then after I did divisions with another Mexican ha. It was really fun and we had a lot of success. Taught a lot of lessons and had a good time as well. 

Thursday was an amazing day. In the morning we started with service and cut some weeds for a member so that was good stuff and then we ate lunch in the house and took a little snooze ha. Always so nice. Then when we had to go work we had 4 amazing lessons and the members in the ward came with us to all of them so they were really helping us out. It looks like god is really working miracles in our sector. We have the possibility to help 6 people to be baptized this month so it should be really cool. It's an amazing feeling to help these people and see the changes they are making. Not only does it help them but it helps me also. In the end they teach me more than I teach them. Truly amazing. We ended the day by doing like an hour and a half of computer work. I was dead so we got home, planned, ate some soup and hit the sack.

 Friday flew by. In the morning we had a special meeting with our zone to try and motivate them to work a little bit harder and then we had lunch and again had a little time to take a nap after lunch. It was pretty hot Friday but we had a lot of lessons. We got everything figured out with our baptisms and then we had a really sad lesson. The old guy Luis we are teaching is still married to a lady and it looks like it will be hard to find her or anything. It was pretty sad. I really love that man and hope that all works out. Then we had a lesson and taught tithing. I love teaching tithing to people. Idk why haha. But then we played soccer. I played quite a bit again. haha I'm progressing. Let's just leave it at 

 Saturday started kinda in a special way. I woke up. Exercised. Ate. Wrote in my journal. But before we had a really good lunch. Ham fried rice. So freaking good after a year and three months of not eating that haha. Them after lunch we had the baptisms. I baptized the littlest kid named Alan. He started getting really nervous as we entered the font so I had to calm him down and kinda throw him under the water haha. But it all turned out well and a ton of members showed up to support them so it was good. Then the day just got exhausting. It was hot and we were just physically and mentally dead. We had a couple good lessons. One with Alicia who will get baptized the next week and ended with a lesson with two less active brothers in there mid thirties but just lived them two alone and I could just tell they were all each other had and that they barely got by. Just by the state of the house and everything. Humbling experience for me. Especially when I have a huge family and nice things and they still find a way to be happy with so little and one brother at their side. We got back to the house and just went to bed after a cold shower.

 Sunday was a pretty good day. The three baptisms were confirmed and also we had a lot of investigators come to church. Gods hand is honestly working miracles here. We ate lunch and then headed home to plan for three hours ha. Not too bad tho considering that the planning is during the hottest part of the day so we escape that. Afterwards we had a couple good lessons and got some references from a family who is pretty involved in missionary work. I'm grateful for all the families here who help us a lot. It makes our work a lot more easier and it helps the people we are teaching.

 But I read a talk this week in this months ensign called"The art of giving". It's about what Christmas is really about and how we need to give and how we should be even more excited to GIVE instead of Receive. I invite you to go read it! But that's it for this week. Love you guys

Elder Harding