Saturday, December 1, 2012

First Time Speaking Chuukese (Video)

Elder Kata has been working very hard to teach Eric to speak Chuukese. When the two Elders teach lessons, if it is in English, Eric teaches about 80% of it and when it's Chuukese, Elder Kata teaches about 80% of those. But Eric is working hard at mastering the language. He loves it and the people he serves.

I asked him to send a video with him reading Chuukese so we can see the words with the pronunciation:

video

Raining in Guam (Video)

Guam is a very wet place, with rain falling 300 days out of the year! Eric's lungs have been having trouble adjusting from the dry heat of Arizona to the dense rainy atmosphere in Guam. The doctors say his lungs will adjust, but in the meantime he has a "frog" voice that sounds a little weak. You can hear it has gotten better from this video that Eric took from his window at his home in Guam documenting the rain. He said when it rains really hard on Guam they call it BMW - baby making weather. 

 
video

Guam in July and a Letter Home


Eric has been serving on the island of Guam. His first companion was a native, Elder Kata:



 

The two get along very well and are really moving the work forward. Elder Kata seems to have a great sense of humor:


One Sacrament they had 8 investigators attend! Eric was so happy, as all were Young Women age and the subject that service was on the Young Woman's program and camp. Elder Kata is the one who gave Eric the gift of the Chuukese language. They work on it everyday for four hours, and Eric says it is a difficult language because it is mostly spoken and the rules of grammar conflict with English.

Eric loves Guam as a beautiful island where he can find many opportunities to serve. He is riding a bike and getting healthier and stronger.

Here is a letter from Eric in late July:

"The families here are amazing! This Sunday we had 13 investigators at church!! The work here is definitely going strong! I am getting stronger every day riding the bikes, and doing the workouts in the morning. This morning Elder Kata and I did service helping a member family with their yard work for 3 hours! They have been so super kind to us, and helping us out all the time with food and supplies. They are truly amazing, so we offered to help with the yard. The work was using machetes to cut down palm fronds and other "islander work". It was hot, but no worries, because it rained half way through, a nice cool off break :0) GUAM IS AMAZING!! I am glad you have been able to go to chruch. Sundays are by far my favorite day. We work so so hard throughout the day, and to see all that work validated by seeing people go to church and partaking of the so many blessings that come from the church, makes all the work and effort totally worth it. I have seen people experience the Holy Ghost for the first time in their life, and what a blessing it is to see the change in someone when they become to know their God, and Savior. It's one of the most fulfilling endeavors tha I have ever done. So to know that you are also getting those blessings is really important to me!

I have not got homesick, nor do I. But there was one time in the MTC when we were talking about trials and people in our lives who we know have gone through a hard time. I totally broke down talking about Dad and you. As well as how much Bryanna and I have grown through the experience. But besides that, I have been doing really well!

GO AMERICA! I love the Olympics so much, and am sad to miss them. But I am doing better things. I love remembering how Bry and I would say "America!" [in a certain tone]. That was really fun, and random/silly. I'm super looking forward to receiving the packae, and especially the letter from Bry! Tell Aaron Allen to write me. I miss talking to him. I love talking to Elder Jacob Dargie - it is fun and enlightening. OH, in the package could you send some CDs with music? Some really good Church music? I am craving it. We have  portable DVD players for training DVDs. But we can use them for music in the mornings and at nights.

I love you all so very much, and am extremely excited to tell you about all the awesome things here on Guam. Love you vall very much!! Tell Max he is the best! And when I get back I will play volleyball with him, and we will be really good together! I love volleyball.

Love, Elder Hadder"

Sunday, August 5, 2012

First Pictures of Guam

These are the first pictures of Elder Hadder on the island of Guam. Click on picture to get bigger. He has to bike up this huge side of a mountain every day to get to the villages of Yona and Talofofo (look at him pointing at the hill - I put the pictures of the mountain where he is pointing so you can see it - also look for a video of it coming soon). What a tropical paradise. It just looks beautiful and Elder Hadder looks so happy. I know he made the right choice to serve a mission and the Lord knew exactly where to send him. In his words "Guam is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G."


                                  Guam Zone July 2012

Pictures of Elder Hadder at the MTC



Here are some pictures of a happy Elder Hadder at the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Provo Utah. He looks so excited to be there. I am so proud of him - looks like he has made a lot of new friends. Click on the collage to get a closer view.

Monday, July 23, 2012

An Update From Eric



We were so happy to hear from Eric this Sunday night (which is actually Monday night for him) to hear how he is doing on his mission. Above is the map of Guam. Eric is assigned to the villages of Talofofo and Yona and rides a bike for transportation. Below is his latest letter:

Dearest Mom;   (<-- building brownie points)

Email is great, just as letters. But I cant respond to anyone's emails unless they are family. So I prefer the family to email, and the rest of all those AWESOME PEOPLE OUT THERE who want to write me, to do so in a written letter. I got a letter From Sister Ashlee Nicoll from England!! Oh, and Sister Britney Morgan also wrote me :) so I'll have to respond to those next week.

I got your package in the mail, thank you so very much, I felt so loved :) Today I sent the pictures. So I sent them around 1:00PM 7/23/2012 Guam time. So we will see how long it takes to get there.


I am so so sorry to here about you in your Chemo pursuits*. I love you very much, and I pray for you and the family every single night. It makes me very uneasy knowing that both you and Dad are so ill. But I know that the Lord is watching over you. I love you all so very much. You mean the world to me (haha, remember all the singers on American Idol?). Except I truly mean it. I hope you recover soon, I will have a special prayer for you.

I am sooo happy that Max had a good birthday party!! Did you let him know I would of been BOWSER!! haha. I miss him so much. I'm glad he had a good time with his friends.


TELL BRYANNA to write me... yo, I'm your homie bro! either email me or write me a letter, fool. Oh and I love ya :)

One of the best feelings that I have ever had in my life happened yesterday! Elder Kata and I had 8 investigators show up to sacrament!! I felt so happy to see them. I periodically looked at them during church, and they were all paying attention, and listening to what was happening. OH and get this. It was the Sunday that they talked about the Young Women's camp in Sacrament, so the young women and the leaders got up to talk, and all 8 of our investigators are in the young women age!! It was a tender mercy of the Lord. A great blessing for those investigators, looking for that thing that they are missing in their lives. I am loving it so much here. Beautiful and full of service. I am losing weight too. I weighed today, and I weigh 210, with all my proselyting clothes on. So not the best, but hey, it's going down :) Well I love you all, and please keep writing and emailing me :)


LOVE YOU ALL!!


Elder Hadder 


* Michelle was hospitalized three days this week for complications from Round Three of A/C chemotherapy.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Learning Chuukees

We were so happy to get this email from Eric. His P-day is Monday, but we receive his letters Sunday night because of the time zone difference. They are a day ahead of us.

7/15/2012       
Hey Mom (and family):          

That was way nice of Richard Milenkovich to come down, he is such a good friend!! Please thank him for me! Also ask him how his family is doing.

Bryanna got her license!!!! OMG I'm soooo glad I'm on this island and away from the potential disaster that awaits all those poor and unsuspecting drivers in Arizona :P I love ya Bry :) Just please be careful, I wouldn't want to come back there and "teach you a lesson" if you were to get into a crash... oh and yeah, BE HOME ON TIME!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MAX!!  Dude you are so lucky that Mom, Dad, and Bry are having a super cool Mario Birthday Party. LUCKY! That sounds like so much fun. If I was there, I think I would Be BOWSER. MWAHAHAHA. And then I would take all your presents (stars) and you would have to play games against me to earn them all back.  haha. I love you very much, and thank you for taking care of Mom for me. You are the best Bro ever :)

I'm happy to hear that you are doing well Mom with the Chemo. I know that it is hard, and that there are some times when you just think... What’s the point. But I know that you WILL beat this. And that you will have such an enriched testimony on the power of blessings and faith. I am so extremely proud of you and Dad, for all that you have been through and for the positive examples that you have been in both my life, and the lives of those around you. I love you very much, and please keep me updated :)

IT is so B...E...A...utiful here. Not only is the weather amazing, but the trees, and ocean and just general atmosphere. I have learned so much about life, having a native companion, as well as being able to teach and learn from all the diverse types of people here on Guam. We are teaching this guy (I’m not going to say his name) and I have been able to see him experience the Atonement work in his life, and it has been such an amazing and spiritual experience. I can’t even describe it.

The bikes are a bit hard, because we have to bike 5 miles to get to the village where most of our current investigators are, and it is about 80% of the time uphill :( but it’s all good, because on the way home, it’s a breeze :) I have never been so wet in my life, between the constant rains, and the crazy amounts of sweat. haha ( sounds really gross to type it).

I have learned a bit of Chuukees. This is my testimony (it will be spelled wrong, most likely):

Uwa sinei pwe ei mwuchifen mi ennet, me pwe Joseph Smith emon sofoson Kot.
Uwa sinei pwe Ewe Puken Mormon mi pwan eu pwarata usun Jesus Christ.
Uwa kinisou ren mirit me kinomwe non maniouen, me ei tufich en angang fan iten Semach won Nang. Uwa apasa ekkei mettoch non iten Jesus Christ, Amen.

In English:


I know that this Church is true, and that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God. I know that The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ. I am thankful for knowledge and peace in my life, and this opportunity to serve in the name of our Heavenly Father. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.


I love you all, and thanks for all the support of everybody.


Love,


Elder Hadder 

Monday, July 9, 2012

And the First Assignment Is...


We got the very anticipated letter from Eric below telling us about his first assignment and his new Companion:

HEY... Its me, Elder Hadder
Ok so now my P-days are on Mondays. I can't send a letter home today, because we had a zone p-day and that took allllll day. It is already 4:30 :(    So that stinks a lot, but whatever, I was able to learn everyone's name. So... I got assigned to the Talofofo and Yona area here on Guam. I am very very lucky, because my companion and trainer is Elder Kata, and he is from Chuuk. That's right I got so lucky that my companion is a native of Micronesia. He and I think one other Elder is from Micronesia.


Elder Kata called to train Eric in Talofofo


I have been assigned to learn Chuukese. (
note: this was the language Eric was hoping to learn). So having a native from Chuuk as my companion is super amazing. I get to be with Elder Kata for two (2) transfers (which is twelve [12] weeks). So my goal is to learn Chuuk super well after my two transfers. Oh and get this.... Elder Adams* trained Elder Kata, so that makes Elder Adams my grandpa!! haha. I have been taking so many pictures of everything. So I'll send it all next week for sure. So to send me packages or letters just send it to the mission office in Guam, and we pick it up every P-day. Next week I'll send a letter as well as the video card :)



So I have been sick for like a week now... I dont have like half of my voice. But that's ok, I'll get it back eventually. Elder Kata and I get our new apartment later today, so I'm excited for that. Oh and get this, I think Elder Kata and I are the only Elders on Guam who get bikes, everyone else gets cars, haha. So I'll be getting skinny 
:0)

HEY MAX


Thank you so much Max for looking after mom. You are the best brother ever, I love and miss you so much. I think about you every single day. You make me so happy, and I will be sending pictures home for you. I love you, and you are the best. Love you Max.


Alrighty, well I have to go, I love everyone. I will be sending pictures next week. 


Elder Hadder  

Sunday, July 8, 2012

MTC Pictures

Thanks to Sister Heather Obray, below are pictures from the MTC of Eric, her son, Elder Nick Obray, and the rest of the Micronesia Guam District. These pictures were taken right before the Missionaries left for Guam.

The Micronesia Guam (and one Fiji Elder) District

In the MTC Classroom

A little P-day volleyball

Our cute Elders

Eric and those long fingers that help him play the piano so well!

Safely Arrived at Guam

So those of you who know me well know I play Rock Band pretty much every chance I get. It is so fun for me - such a stress reliever - -  and I play with awesome people like Aaron Allen (Double A) and Alex Danayan, our very talented friend from Canada that is the best RB guitarist I have ever seen, bar none. So we were playing (and destroying the records, I must say with gold starts and double digit rankings on the PS3 leaderboard) when my cell phone rang. I yelled at Darrell to grab the phone, but he he didn't recognize the number at all. I have learned this may be a good thing, so I yelled "give me the phone" between singing. And answered it to hear a wonderful voice on the line: "This is President Meacham from the Micronesia Guam Mission letting you know your son arrived here safely. He will be meeting his Companion in a few minutes and tomorrow he will be given his assignment. He will email you on Monday with news." Well I couldn't thank the man enough for his kind phone call. I was so touched that he would take the time to call each parent of the Missionaries entrusted to his care. I was thrilled to speak to the man I have never met before to whom I trust to take care of my precious son. This time it didn't make me sad (because it was about Eric, but not Eric himself), and I played the rest of the night randomly blurting out "Oh my gosh, Eric's Mission President just called". Which about the fifteenth time was met with laughter from everyone. I just couldn't get over it.

Thanks Double A and Sephimour 777 (Alex Danayan) for making Mamma Hadder happy and playing Rock Band with me. Eric's friends have been very wonderful to me while he has been gone (and always) and I just love them.

Unexpected Phone Call

On Tuesday, July2, 2012, I received a call on my cell phone while at work from a number I didn't recognize. I don't usually take calls at work, but I have been waiting for a medical appointment, so I took the call. It was the sweetest voice on the other line..."This is Eric". It took me a couple seconds to recognize it was MY Eric - then I was estatic. He had called me from a pay phone in a McDonalds at LAX while traveling to Guam. We had a chance to chat, catch up on everyone's health (both Dad and I are doing fine) and a little information on each family member. Eric sounded so happy and positive and just wonderful. It was so exciting. I told my boss Eric had called all happy....then I started crying. And couldn't stop. I cried at my desk, hid in the ladies' room and cried there to see if I could pull myself together, and finally just returned to my desk and let the tears flow while I worked. Hearing his voice just brought to reality that he isn't just on an extended road trip with friends, he is gone for two years. And I just miss him so much. He left a huge hole in our family.

I called Verizon to have his smartphone fixed to give to Bryanna while he is on his mission. When the tech asked me to power it up to make sure it was still covered under the warranty (it was) his cute face in his ASU shirt smiled at me from his cell phone and I burst out crying. The poor Verizon tech was like "Ma'am, ma'am, are you OK?" After some blubbering on my part the guy just probably chalked me up to crazy and walked me through the steps needed to return the phone. 

I guess when I am at home and immersed in the details of everyday living, plus my chemo and always worrying about Darrell's health, I can put the fact that Eric is gone on a mental shelf and leave it there. But unexpectedly hearing from him or seeing his smiling face pop up just melts my defenses. Having said that, I wouldn't have him give up this experience for ANYTHING. He has my full support. He is just growing and maturing and moving forward with his life and I am so proud. What an amazing turning point in his life. An opportunity to put self aside for two years and just serve those around you. I wish I had been a Member of the Church when I was struggling to find myself in my late teens/early adulthood. I would have made different choices for sure. 

All my love, Elder Hadder, you are an awesome representative of the family name. We love you so much.


Star Studded Devotional

Hey Mom:


OK so as I promised, I will tell you about the special devotional yesterday, but before that...


I got your package, and it awesome. I shared, and the steak strips were gone in like 5 minutes, ha ha. Thanks for the almonds as well. I really like them. So I have received a letter/Dear Elder from Jacob Reed, Aaron Allen (btw I need his email, because I want to write him) Brother Seggie, Ashlee Nicholl, my beautiful Mom, my amazing Dad, and an extremely nice letter from Jennie Sherfey. It was so unexpected and so very kind of her. It really made me happy - she is a great Aunt. I have grown so much more spiritually in just one week, it is so crazy. This week (meaning from 6/12 to 6/28) they had the annual new mission president conference here at the MTC. So 1/3 of the missions got a new president (about 120 or so). So the schedule is all out of whack and weird at the moment. So this Saturday all the missionaries meet their new mission president, but all the other missionaries who don't have a new mission president (including me) went to the the massive gym here (M19) and watched a movie. And yes you guessed it, we all watched "The Other Side of Heaven". It was so amazing to be able to watch that movie and give us a small glimpse of how our mission in Micronesia could possibly be. It definitely was a huge morale boost. So now on to Tuesday. Because of the new mission presidents, a lot of the General Authorities were here. So Elder L. Tom Perry gave the talk of Tuesday. On the stand were the following: L. Tom Perry, Russell M. Nelson, Dallin H. Oaks, M. Russell Ballard, David A. Bednar, Quinton L. Cook, D. Todd Christopherson, Neil L. Anderson, Richard G. Scott, Jeffrey R. Holland, as well as most of the first presidency of the First Quorum of the 70. We all stood when the General Authorities were walking in and the room had such a strong spirit. It hit us all so strong. The talk was pretty powerful. It was a lot of statistics on how a religious family benefits both the family and the individual so much. It was a great experience.


Well I leave the MTC in six days (7/2/2012). This is the travel itinerary:


SLC to LAX
LAX to Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo Japan to Guam


Please don't share the airline or flight numbers, but you can post the rest of the information.
Love all of you,


Elder Hadder

A Letter to Bryanna

Best Friends

Eric wrote Bryanna:

BREEEEEEEEEEEEE (what up homie):  Bryanna Hadder, where to begin... Well I will start with the fact that I love you. I miss you so so much it's not even funny. So I hear you are seriously planning on going to BYU.That is so awesome :0)  You will love the weather here. It's beautiful. Also, you signed up for seminary, well that's awesome. Promise me that you will read what they ask you to read, and pray about it. I pray about you every single night. I love you with all of my heart. You are for real my best friend. I want your life to be blessed with the gospel. Sounds lame, but I promise you will have such a better life. And you know I don't B.S. you. Bree, please give Mom, Dad, & especially Max a big hug for me. You are the oldest now, so you have the responsibility of love now. Everyone messes up ( a lot) you just have to love them and want to help them. Well I am running out of time (laundry room). I love you Bryanna, and I know that God loves you very much as well. You're beautiful and don't forget it. 

Love your best friend, 

Elder Hadder

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

First Email from Elder Hadder

Eric unexpectedly sent me a short email on Wednesday June 27, 2012!

"Hey Mom and all other family :0)


I am having so much fun here at the MTC. I have ran into Blake Shumacher, as well as Ricky van Neck. Those are the only two people I know here, besides all the new friends I have made. OK so something super super awesome just happened this last Tuesday the 26th of June. We had a special Devotional, with 10 Apostles and most of the Quorum of the Seventy First Presidency. I will write them all down in my letter that I write home, because I only get 30 minutes to email. So I will have more in depth later. But I love getting letters - as well as Dear Elders - they really make my day :0) Thank you. And yes, I got your package. It was awesome and way sweet.....real quick before I run out of time, I love you all very much. Thank you for all your support to me on this mission. Please love each other, and lift each other up. I love and miss you all. I try not to think of home, otherwise I get a bit depressed. You are all all very amazing and wonderful people. I pray for you every night, each individually, and hey, I'm an Elder - so you know that has extra power ;) I love you all, and thanks again for your support and letters :0)  


Love, 
Elder Hadder"

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Another Letter!

Dear Mom: 


I love you so much. I miss you and my family a whole lot. Where to start... I went to the Temple this morning. That was an amazing experience, super beautiful. I have come so much closer to God in this short week here. I have been able to use my experiences with your and Dad's cancer so many times to bring the Spirit to the investigators. The first day we got here, and everyday afterwards, we have been teaching people. 


My companion is Elder Cook, and he has been called as the District Leader. So it has been fun doing all the little extra things so that he can fully do his calling. I have been called as a Senior Companion, so there is just a little bit of added responsibility but nothing big at all. I hear you frogged*. That is so awesome, we haven't heard you frog in forever. Thank you so much for supporting Ashlee**. That was awesome of you. Please ask Jacob Reed what his mailing address is. Thank Jacob Reed and Brother Carl Seggie for their emails through "Dear Elder", they were way uplifting. 


My teachers are are Brother Austin and Sister Hoopes. I love them both - different teaching styles - but both are extremely spiritual and amazing. Please tell Dad, Bryanna, and Max that I love them so very much ( and anyone else who writes me ). Mail time is one of the best parts of the day. I mentioned earlier that my P-day is Wednesday, so I can only write on Wednesdays. 

How is Aaron doing? Please have him use "Dear Elder" and write me. I have so much to tell him. 

Mom and Dad, I know this Church is true. I have gained such a strong testimony in Jesus Christ. The Holy Ghost is real and does help us in our every day. Make sure to email me any questions. OH Please use "Dear Elder" because I can only check my email on Wednesdays, but "Dear Elders" are printed off daily (except for weekends). I love you all. 

Elder Hadder 


*Frogging is the name our family calls a certain laugh that I do (Michelle) very rarely that makes this very strange noise in my throat. It is like air escaping and it sounds just like a frog croaking. I only do it when I am so overcome with laughter. It hurts! But it always make everyone bust up laughing because it sounds so funny. It's another weird silly Mom thing. 

** Ashlee Nichol is a wonderful friend of Eric's from high school that is reporting to her mission end of June (very soon) to the Scotland/Ireland Mission. We sure love Ashlee and wish her the best. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

First Letter from Elder Hadder

Dear Mom and rest of family: 

I love it here. The Spirit is so strong - it's crazy. There are seven Micronesia-Guam missionaries, and one going to Fiji. All eight of us are in a district together. It's crazy the type of love that is here. I like my companion. He has a lot of spiritual stuff to say. I saw and talked to Elder Blake Schumacher today - that was cool to see him. We had an amazing experience today. There were three people who had questions about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  We all spent a total of two hours talking to these people. The Spirit was so strong. The first was a Japanese man who was brilliant (not a shocker there). His discussion was based off principles and was kinda awkward for me. The second guy, Carlo, was my favorite. He had lost his wife six years ago, and his fifth child lived only three days after birth. The Spirit was so sweet when an Elder shared with Carlo that he lost his sister when she was only four months old. The Elder then testified to Carlo that he knew he would see his sister again. That testimony was really strong to me. 

I love you, Mom and Dad so very much. I also love Bryanna and Max a whole bunch. I have a strong feeling to let Aaron know that he needs to serve. I am learning so much and it's my first day. He would benefit greatly here. I can only write on my "P" days* and while at the MTC that falls on Wednesdays. So I will write for sure the next two Wednesdays, then I'll be in Guam. :0) I love and miss everyone already. Please write me and let me know how things are going back at home. Sorry if it's hard to read. Let me know, that way I will know to print from then on. And again, love y'all. 

Love, 
Elder Eric Hadder 


*Note:  "P" day is Preparation-day - one day set aside each week during a mission to take care of the missionary's personal needs, such as laundry, cleaning, haircuts, writing home, and exercise. Missionaries at the MTC are also supposed to attend the Provo Temple on their P-day. Missionaries are assigned specific duties as part of their P-day service, which might include things like cleaning bathrooms, dorm buildings, the grounds, and other buildings. P-day ends at the beginning of the dinner hour. The rest of the time on a mission is spent in service to others.

Off to the MTC

MTC
Eric left for the Missionary Training Center ("MTC") very early on Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - the day he had been eagerly anticipating and the day I was dreading a little (let's be honest - the day your son, who happens to also be one of your best friends, leaves for two years isn't your favorite day). Even Bryanna was quick to get up super early to make the drive to the airport. She is going to miss him perhaps most of all. Since families cannot go into the MTC with their Elders anymore (a change from years past), the Church encourages you to say your goodbyes at the airport. So we checked in curbside at PHX Sky Harbor and airport security was kind enough to ignore the fact we were all out of the car saying our goodbyes. Bryanna and I cried, but Eric was so happy, it was hard to be sad. He gave us all a hug, one last extra hug for Mom, then he turned and walked into the airport, never looking back. I know in my heart all will be well with us as he serves the people of the Isles. Blessings will come to us and especially to those he serves.

I had chemo the next day, and as I lay in bed feeling horrible I thought about the sacrifice that I personally was making for Eric to go on a mission. He is always the one to text me about his day, call me and say "hey beautiful Mom, how are you?" or show up unexpectedly with a diet coke in his hand and a big smile on his face. Part of me wishes he could stay with me through all my treatment - although he was there for me in a big way when I had my surgery and post-op infection - and part of me is glad he gets to miss it. I never wanted my kids to go through all they have endured with Darrell's illness and now mine. We can't choose our experiences, but we CAN choose how we react to them. And I think serving a mission to show gratitude to the Lord for the blessings given to our family despite our trials is a great choice.

We love you Elder Hadder, and we are so proud of you.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Eric Set Apart as an Elder (Part II)

I think Eric would rather wear this in humid weather where it rains up to 300 days a year!
Eric & Bryanna: family by chance, best friends by choice




Eric Set Apart as an Elder (Part I)

Last night Eric was set apart as an full-time Elder by a member of the Stake Presidency, President Gardiner. It was very special to be there. Below are some pictures:

Friends, family and Ward leadership. Love these men!


Grandfather, Father and Son
Eric and proud Mom fighting back tears. I lost...

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Farewell Sacrament Meeting


Eric spoke in Sacrament last Sunday, June 10, 2012. We had so many people come to Church to support him: my Dad flew in from Pennsylvania, my Mom and stepfather Russ came, one of my best friends, Richard Milenkovich, drove from California just for the weekend, my boss, Ezra T. Clark, III and his whole family, President Wayne Gardner and his wife, my stepson Andrew Hadder and his fiance, my bandmate Serge van Neck, and Debbi and Derrick Platt, to name a few. We felt very loved and blessed as a family. Later in the day, we met with a wonderful return missionary from the Micronesia Guam Mission, Chase Adams, who came with Travis Williams and shared his stories of the mission and allowed us to play his mission DVD for our open house Sunday night. We had so many people come from the Ward that we loved come wish Eric farewell. We also had extended family like Mark & Bee, Stephanie and Kat, Rey Martinez, Holly and Serena. It was wonderful to see everyone, and many people brought gifts for Eric. We simply had the most perfect weekend. 

Below is Eric's talk - I am posting it for those of our friends and family who could not make it. Unfortunately, you cannot feel the Spirit that was present at the meeting, but you can imagine Eric's sincerity as he gave the talk. 

          Good Morning Brothers and Sisters, friends and family. My name is Eric Hadder and I have been asked to speak with you today about sacrifice.
To sacrifice is to give up something valuable or precious, often with the intent of accomplishing a greater goal or purpose. We read about sacrifice early on, starting in Genesis, in reference to animal sacrifices. The animal sacrifice was a symbol for the great atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. However after the Atonement of Christ, animal sacrifices where no longer needed, But instead Christ tells his disciples of another type of sacrifice. He does this in 3rd Nephi 9:20, which states;
 And ye shall offer for a asacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit. And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I bbaptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost, even as the Lamanites, because of their faith in me at the time of their conversion, were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not.
In the times before Christ animal sacrifices were required of the people. In modern times, we are commanded to have a “Broken heart and a contrite spirit” – this means a willingness to repent of sins, and a desire to follow Jesus Christ and align one's life with His commandments. This stands in stark contrast for most of the world. All around us, TV shows, movies, and other media encourage us to spend our time, effort and money on purely personal fulfillment. But those who choose to follow Christ focus on others. To follow Christ involves a sacrifice of what we do on a day-to-day basis in our ordinary lives to be of service to others.
Every member of our Church has a responsibility to serve. Our clergy are not professionally trained or paid. Everyday members are called to lead and serve the congregation, and they are responsible for numerous Church meetings, programs, and activities.
The most well-known example of sacrifice in our Church history would be the Mormon pioneers. Our ancestors sincerely believed that they were obeying the will of the Lord to sacrifice everything they had: their possessions, separation from their family, even their lives, in order to establish the foundation of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and build up the Kingdom of God on the earth.  In General Conference, Elder Oaks stated that today, the best-known example of unique LDS service and sacrifice, are the work of our missionaries. Currently there are more than 50,000 young men and young women and over 5,000 adult men and women serving a mission. Our Ward alone has approximately 10 missionaries serving in the United States and other countries, with two more serving in the very near future. Missionaries devote from six months to two years of their lives to teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ and providing humanitarian service in more than 160 countries in the world. Missionary work always involves sacrifice. Including the years they give to the work of the Lord, missionaries leave jobs, college, sweethearts, and their family to serve others. Not only do they sacrifice, but the parents and other family members sacrifice too, in many ways, including providing funds for their support and going without the companionship of the missionary they sent.  
Our family has answered the call to sacrifice. After much prayer and prompting, I decided to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I have been called to serve in the Micronesia Guam Mission and report to the Missionary Training Center in Provo Utah this coming Wednesday, June 13th.  Although most young men go on their mission when they turn 19, I didn’t. I had every intention, and even had all of my paperwork filled out, however the timing just was not right for me, and my family. In the summer of 2008, my father was diagnosed with terminal angio immunoblastic T-cell lymphoma. My father was told he had, at the most, two years to live. As many of you know, my father is still with us today through the power of faith, sacrifice, prayer and the priesthood. The Bishop we had at the time my dad was diagnosed was a Doctor in Medical Research with the U.S. Navy, and he had access to up-to-date data on my dad’s specific type of cancer. He found the only research study published: a study of 100 patients over a 10 year period because this type of lymphoma is so rare. Of all 100 patients, none survived more than 2 years after their diagnosis.  Our Bishop was fully aware of how sick my father was, and he knew the prognosis was very poor. However, shortly after my dad was diagnosed, that same Bishop came to the hospital and gave my father a priesthood blessing. In that blessing, my father was told that his doctors would be able to treat him and that he would be able to provide for his family.  The Bishop stated afterward that he hesitated before stating these words, but went ahead with the blessing because this is what the Spirit told him to say.  My father has had to sacrifice with many health issues since his diagnosis, but he is still here.  But we have been greatly blessed by the numerous people – friends, family and Ward Members -  that have sacrificed in so many ways to help our family.
I received my mission call early this year, and I have been excited to serve ever since. However in mid April my mom was diagnosed with Stage 3 Breast Cancer. This hit our family very hard. I knew what type of toll my father’s cancer had on him, and knew that the road ahead would be difficult for my mom. She has had surgery and faces six months of chemotherapy and radiation. But her faith has not waivered and she continues to encourage me to serve my mission. And once again, my family and I were given an opportunity to see the power of the priesthood and prayer, as well as the blessings that come from those who sacrifice for others. Once again, friends, family and ward members have come forward to offer help and support to our family. Many of you sit in the audience today. 
I have been blessed so many times in my life. I have been on the receiving end of many people who have sacrificed for me and my family. I feel that I now have been given an amazing opportunity to sacrifice in order to bring others to Christ. I am extremely happy and excited to serve the Lord in this mission, and to be of help in any way I can to the people of Micronesia.  I simply want to serve. I strive to follow Matthew 16:24-25: “For whomsoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” Christ paid the ultimate sacrifice for us all, and we should follow his example.
Eric then bore his testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel and the Church and closed his talk. We sang "How Great Thou Art" and closed with "Because I Have Been Given Much". It was a wonderful Sacrament meeting, and one I will never forget. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Farewell

Eric will speak in Church on Sunday, June 10, 2012. The topic is on Sacrifice - the perfect topic for Eric as he reflects on his experiences and the choices that led him to decide to go on a mission.

Please join us at 11:00 am, Sunday, June 10, 2012 at our Ward Building located at 3345 E. McLellan Road, Mesa, Arizona  85213.  We will have an open house from 6:00 -9:00 pm for all those who would like to meet my father from Pennsylvania and wish Eric well on his mission at our home, located at 5123 East Dallas Street in Mesa, AZ  85205. Thank you to everyone for your support.


Mom's 2-Week Countdown

Eric is exactly two weeks away from reporting to the MTC. We were at Lowe's today and when we started talking about his MTC date I got so emotional I had to walk away from the counter. I am SO happy he is going on his mission. I am POSITIVE that I will get through my fight with breast cancer and be here when he returns in two years. He was here for me during my mastectomy, the post-op infection 5-day hospital stay, and my first round of chemo. Our whole family is making sacrifices for him to serve. Eric is going on his mission for all the right reasons. We are so proud of him and we know he has been called for a specific purpose to the Micronesia Guam Mission.

Two weeks and counting...

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Preparing to Attend the Temple


Everyone can attend our church services and we welcome visitors. After joining the Church and remaining faithful for one year, you can receive your endowment, a gift of power from God. This gift of power is made through ordinances in the temple that gives worthy church members the instruction and covenants of the Holy Priesthood that they need in order to attain exaltation. The endowment includes instruction about the plan of salvation.

Today Bishop and Eric made plans for Eric to receive his endowment in the temple. We are excited for Eric to have his private interview with the Bishop and then his Stake President to obtain his temple recommend. This is a necessary step on his journey to serving the Micronesian people.

We can't wait to attend the Mesa Arizona Temple with Eric. Above is a picture of this beautiful building, the 7th operating temple in the Church. Click on Mesa Temple to find out more.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Spread the News

Last Sunday Eric was invited to the stand to announce his Mission call. As his Mom I sit on the stand as Ward chorister,so I was facing the congregation when he came up to the lectern. Many of our friends and family already knew where Eric would serve because he had posted it on Facebook. So we were unprepared for the reaction. When he said he had been called to Micronesia, there was an audible collective gasp. We have come to understand that this Mission is somewhat rare, and will be an amazing opportunity for Eric to serve a very humble yet happy people.


For a short history of the LDS Micronesia Guam mission, click here.

Later in the program Brother Pishl asked Eric to give his testimony. His testimony was simple and straightforward: he has always had a testimony, but it really became strong as he witnessed the power of the priesthood through his father's fight with terminal lymphoma. He has experienced first-hand the blessings of the gospel, and he can think of no better way to show his appreciation to his Heavenly Father than to serve a full time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and bring others to Christ. We agree.

Later that day, one of Eric's favorite youth leaders approached our family and offered to help with the expenses of Eric's mission. This offer was so unexpected and sincere that by the end of his offer I was in tears, overwhelmed with appreciation. This is just one of the many blessings that we have experienced as a family as Eric has started this journey. We are so grateful for the friends, family, and leaders that have helped Eric get to this point in his life.

We love you all.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Eric's Mission Call



Eric received his mission call in the mail on Thursday, January 19, 2012. He called me at work and said "guess what I have in my hand? A diet coke. Guess what I have in my other hand....my mission call!" We were all so excited!

Eric decided not to open the letter until the next day, January 20, 2012, so that he could have family and close friends attend. He had to hide the letter from me so I wouldn't open it! But at 6:00 pm our old Bishop, Jeff Curtis, and our new Bishop, Terry Walker, and friends and family gathered to find out where he would be serving for the next two years. This video captured the moment...