Monday, December 30, 2013

Goodbye 2013...Hello 2014 :)


Dear Family and Friends,

Wow. It's been an amazing year. Can you believe that 2013 is almost over??

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO BRIGHAM AND BECKHAM! I remember the day they were born SO well. What a miraculous day that was for our family.

It was SO amazing to see you all on Christmas. You all look so happy and so healthy. I am so grateful for those 40 minutes that we had together. :) I want to say thank you to everyone for the cards and presents! You are all the best! Christmas in the mission field is definitely special. Christmas Eve and Christmas our mission did a "Read-A-Thon". On Christmas Eve we read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. It was incredible. Then on Christmas we got into the Doctrine and Covenants, and we will do the same thing on New Years Eve and New Years Day. With those four days we will read a total of 26 hours and finish the 4 gospels, D&C and the Pearl of Great Price. Amazing eh? We also do it as a zone, and it has been powerful reading the word of God with dozens of other missionaries. Sister Woolf and I had a Spanish Christmas Eve!! We were able to go to a member's house and she made us tamalees (spelling??). We walked out of that house feeling SO full. We were then able to go see our investigator Ayse. She has the background of Muslim so we went over and shared the story of the birth of Jesus Christ. I think that it is so amazing that we were able to teach that on Christmas Eve. It was one of the most powerful lessons I have ever experienced, and having it on Christmas Eve made it that much better. Christmas Day we spent brunch with the Gravis family and skyped you all at their home. We then went to work, but our car decided to be dumb, and we couldn't get it to turn off. It's one thing to have the car not start, but it's absolutely hilarious when you can't get it to turn off. Haha, our District Leader had to come help us. We had Christmas dinner with the Smith family. It was a huge turkey dinner, and I felt so happy there. The members of the ward here are so amazing!

I wanted to share an experience that Sister Woolf and I had this week that really increased my testimony of listening to the Spirit. We were walking home from an appointment, and it was getting late. It was about 8:45 and we needed to made it back to the apartment by 9...so we were walking pretty fast. I saw a man ahead of us and when we got closer to him I reached into my hand to pull out a mormon.org card to give to him. I got the sickest feeling in my heart and I felt my hand literally pushed to stay in my pocket. I don't know why, but I knew I shouldn't give him a card. We just said hello and kept walking. Sister Woolf then says to me, "He's following us." Yup, my friends, we got followed for quite some time. It was SO scary! I pretended to drop my glove just so I could turn around and see if he was still there, and he was. We didn't know what to do, so we turned down a side street and just booked it. All in all, it was a very scary 20 minutes for us. I am thankful that I listened to the Spirit that night.

Here is something that is so funny. Sister Woolf and I have received $90 EACH in Subway Gift Cards...I think that the ward is trying to tell us something...hahaha I think that the weight that all of you are losing is coming to me...You know what they say - "Your loss is someone else's gain!" Ain't that the truth.

The investigators are coming along. I love them all dearly. 

This week we also had exchanges. I was able to go to the wonderful land of Brampton with the one and only Sister Waldron. This is my 3rd exchange with her, and they have all been amazing. She is honestly a rockstar missionary. Brampton got hit really bad with the ice storm and the whole city looked like a war zone. We were parked under a tree and a huge chunk of ice feel out of it onto our car and it sounded like a bomb. We honestly had to walk on the streets, because ice was falling off of trees everywhere. It looked terrible. OH! Brampton has a street called "Hardcastle Crt" - I'll attach a picture. Neat eh?? Sister Waldron has known me for a long time now. Our first exchange was when I had only been out on my mission for about 3 months. She asked me to tell her how I feel that I have changed since then, which really got me thinking about this past year. So what I thought I would do is highlight the year of 2013!

The year started off perfectly with the text at 12:00 a.m. on January 1st from Bishop Easton telling me that my mission papers had been submitted. The year got wayyy better just a few days later when Brigham and Beckham were born. Not too many days later that wonderful white envelope arrived in the mail. I never thought how much that letter would change my life. January 9th, 2013 was one of the best days of my life. I know that God called me to be in the place that I am in right now. February was unforgettable. Who remembers what happened that month?! I was endowed in the Salt Lake Temple and my WHOLE family was there. I will never forget the Spirit that was there when our whole family was together. I love you all so much...March...I turned the age of 19, which qualified me to be where I am right now. Best timing ever. May...Eli came just in time, which I know was a huge blessing from Heavenly Father! Just a few days later I did the hardest thing I've ever done in my life - I left you all behind to the most precious work of the Lord. That day I left behind the people that are most dear to me, to come to a different country and find the most precious souls. I am eternally grateful for my mission. The following months brought many miracles into our family with Jaclyn and Matt getting settled in Colorado, Lauren getting the teaching job, Landon finding Hannah, Dal and Jess buying a house, etc. The year ended the best way ever with Landon and Hannah sealing the deal. As well as Lauren and Daniel. Can our family be more blessed?? Probably not.

Each and every one of you have touched my life this year. I know that 2/3 of the year I was in Canada, but I have never felt closer to you all. I feel so much love and so much support and for that I am humbled.

My mission has been the highlight of my life so far. The companions, areas, investigators, members, cultures, experiences have greatly increased my understanding of the world. I know that I wouldn't be able to grow in the way I am growing without this experience. I think that that understanding comes because of my greatest love for the gospel and all of my brothers and sisters. I have been able to see the Atonement work within people and a new light come into their life. It is a huge testimony to me of how TRUE and GREAT the work of the Lord is.

I just wanted to end with this scripture - (With a few word changes)

D & C 128:22 - Hardcastle Familyshall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage, family; and on, on to the victory! Let your hearts rejoice, and be exceedingly glad. Let the earth break forth into singing. Let the dead speak forth anthems of eternal praise to the King Immanuel, who hath ordained, before the world was, that which would enable us to redeem them out of their prison; for the prisoners shall go free.

Hardcastle Family, shall we not go on in so great a cause?? I love that. As a brand new year rolls around I want to encourage all of you to go on in this cause. "Consecration is the only form of surrender that also means VICTORY." Courage, family; and on, on to the victory!

So, I'm making it a note to come up with the 2014 Hardcastle Family Motto. What do you think of - "Courage, family; and on, on to the victory" OR "Hardcastle Family, shall we not go on in so great a cause?" Thoughts??

What are your new year's resolutions??

Remember family - "There are lives to brighten. There are hearts to touch. There are souls to save." -President Monson. 

Let's make 2014 one to never forget. It will go by faster than we can imagine...so I guess I'll see you soon! And I'll talk to you next year. :)

I love you. I love this Gospel. I love my Savior. I love my calling.

Love,

Sister Hardcastle

"Have Faith, Have Hope, Live Like His Son, Help Others On Their Way"

Matching Pajamas on Christmas Eve :) 
Christmas Morning :)
:)
Talking to the parents :) 
I think we missed Jackson in this picture...
The Gravis Family :)
Favorite Companion :) Best person to spend Christmas with!
The Smith Family :)
Christmas Day outfit!
Ignore the terrible angle...Hardcastle Crt!!!
Sister Waldron :)
My crazy companion...

Monday, December 23, 2013

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Dear Family and Friends, 

Well, my dear ones. It has been quite an eventful week. I can't wait to talk to you all soon!! Woot woot!

Happy Birthday to Logan and Riley this week!!

For the details for the Skype call on Christmas...What will happen is I will give you all a call tomorrow night sometime just to make sure everything is all set. Someone add ky.woolf to skype and that is the account I will be using. I will probably call around 11:30 or 12 your time. So 1:30 or 2 my time. Be patient if it's not exactly at that time. :) Can't wait to see you all!

So, yes this past week I made a trip to the hospital. All is well. 

We also had a crazzzzyy ice storm this past weekend. We couldn't even drive at all yesterday AND CHURCH WAS CANCELLED. What is up with Canada?! It's really cold here. 

Sooo unfortunately, Jackie was not able to be baptized this past week because permission was not granted...So we are going to have to wait until January. :) 

We met with Trevor again this past week. Holy cow, he is such a miracle. He has taken the role of my grandpa while I'm here. :) We taught him the Nativity story using a cute nativity set that Sister Woolf's mom gave her. It was so amazing. There was a glow in his eyes that I haven't seen in a long time. 

From President Monson -

“Christmas is a glorious season of the year,” he said. “It is also a busy time for most of us. It is my hope and prayer that we may not become so caught up in the pressures of the season that we place our emphasis on the wrong things and miss the simple joys of commemorating the birth of the Holy One of Bethlehem.” He said that finding the real joy of Christmas comes not in the hurrying and the scurrying to get more done; rather, individuals find the real joy of Christmas as they make the Savior the focus of the season. “Born in a stable, cradled in a manger, He came forth from heaven to live on earth as mortal man and to establish the kingdom of God,” President Monson said. “His glorious gospel reshaped the thinking of the world. He lived for us, and He died for us. What can we, in return, give to Him?” The celebration of Christmas should be a reflection of the love and selflessness taught by the Savior, he said. “Giving, not getting, brings to full bloom the Christmas spirit. We feel more kindly one to another. We reach out in love to help those less fortunate. Our hearts are softened. Enemies are forgiven, friends remembered, and God obeyed. The spirit of Christmas illuminates the picture window of the soul, and we look out upon the world’s busy life and become more interested in people than in things.” To catch the real meaning of the spirit of Christmas, individuals need only drop the last syllable of the word, and it becomes the Spirit of Christ. “May we give as the Savior gave,” said President Monson. “To give of oneself is a holy gift. We give as a remembrance of all the Savior has given. May we also give gifts that have eternal value, along with our gifts that eventually break or are forgotten. How much better the world would be if we all gave gifts of understanding and compassion, of service and friendship, of kindness and gentleness.”

He lived for us, and He died for us. What can we, in return, give to Him? 

I love my Savior and His gospel. I love my mission. I love you all.

Love, 

Sister Hardcastle

"Have Faith, Have Hope, Live Like His Son, Help Others On Their Way"

Sister Hardcastle and Sister Castillo :)
Glad this is over... 
Ice anyone??

Monday, December 16, 2013

Blessings, Blessings, and MORE Blessings!

Dear Family and Friends, 

I have so much to say this week...

Happy Birthday to my favorite Tanman tomorrow! Love you forever bud!

CONGRATS TO THE WORLD'S BEST COUPLE OF THE YEAR!!! I am so happy for you Landon and Hannah. From what I've read, the day was perfect and I couldn't be happier. I know that our family is being so blessed right now and I am SO thankful for that.

Well...ready for the transfer news?! Sister Woolf and I will be staying in Hamilton Mountain West together for another transfer. :) Sister Mendenhall is going back to Simcoe (where she was before us) with her new companion, Sister Castillo. Last night waiting for transfer calls was terrible. I always get SO nervous. I've never stayed with a companion for longer than a transfer except when I was getting trained. Sister Woolf and I were just jumping up and down - we are so happy. It is truly a blessing to be serving with her for another transfer. She is my wing-woman. :) I'm also so excited to be staying in this area! We are so blessed right now - 

This past week Sister Mendenhall got SO sick. We even went to the doctor's - But despite all of that, it was very successful! We were able to reach the Standards of Excellence 4 weeks in a row, and the investigators here are simply golden. I have several experiences that I wanted to share with you this week - 

Jackie - MIRACLE! So, we've been stressing out about getting permission from her mother for her baptism. Last week we were talking with her and her dad, and we asked if we should move her baptism date back in order to wait for permission to come. Well, if all goes well, Jackie will be getting permission tomorrow and be baptized on Sunday! Xavier will be just two weeks after her on January 5th. Please please please keep them in your prayers!

George - So prepared. We contacted him on the street several weeks ago, and taught him awhile back. It's been hard to find a time to meet with him again, but we finally did this past week. He is 31 years old and the funniest guy. We taught him the Plan of Salvation and the Word of Wisdom and he LOVED it. After we taught him the Plan using "Spiritual George" he re-taught it to us. He has the best memory. He then came to church all dressed up in a suit. It was amazing. He participated in Gospel Principles, stayed for all of Priesthood. He was then invited to go to a Singles Activity so he went to that. After church, we showed him the baptismal font and he was glowing. We told him how it would be done and with the biggest grin on his face he said - "I'm going to be baptized the same way Jesus Christ was baptized!" Then he gave me a high five. :) So amazing. He has a date for January 12th, but it may be able to be moved up sooner!

Trevor - my long lost grandpa. He is the 89 year old less active. Well, he came to church yesterday. He was glowing. He is the nicest guy. In fact, we went over to his house on Saturday to see him and have lunch. Ironically he pulled out all of his wedding photos. So I was looking at a wedding from back in 1940, meanwhile, Landon and Hannah were getting married. :) 

Ayse - from Turkey. Remember her? We haven't heard from her in awhile, so we dropped by. Such a miracle! Turns out her phone wasn't working and that's why she wasn't able to contact us. She was so excited to see us! I honestly feel so welcomed at her home. I don't know if I have shared this story with you yet - But President Scott had told us about a member named Ayse who lives near Toronto. This Ayse from Toronto is also from Turkey, used to be Muslim and even wrote a book. CAN YOU SAY MIRACLE?! So amazing! So we are getting them in contact with each other!

We had quite the snow storm this past week. Apparently, Canadians don't like to plow their roads very promptly. It was quite scary actually. I was not a fan of driving. I got us stuck once. :( Sister Woolf was pushing and Sister Mendenhall and I were just in the car laughing, haha good times. This tripanionship has been hilarious. We've had a lot of fun together! I am grateful that Sister Mendenhall will still be in my district!

Niagara Falls last week was fun but freezing. :) I think I'll take a break from the place for awhile! So....as far as Christmas goes with us skyping, I'm still working on that. It's nice to know that I'll be in this area now, so Sister Woolf and I will start to ask around to see who we can go to. So what will happen is I should have all the details by next Monday, then on Tuesday night (Christmas Eve) I will be calling probably Dad's cell phone to confirm everything, then on Wednesday we will skype for no longer than 40 minutes! Woohoo!


Everyone go watch this Mormon Message - and remember the true meaning of Christmas. I LOVE YOU ALL FOREVER!

Luke 2:10-11 

"And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord."

Love,

Sister Hardcastle

"Have Faith, Have Hope, Live Like His Son, Help Others On Their Way"


Me on the American Side, then Sister Woolf on the Canadian Side ;) 
Fun Christmas lights at Niagara :)
Trying to be productive while Sis Mendenhall is on her death bed...
Sister Watson's cute dog Murphy :)
Our District :)
Triple Threat...
Wearing Trevor's hat. Dad - it has pheasant feathers on it!
LOOK! A member brought us back a gallon of milk from the States....
Fun times with Brother Gillott :)

Monday, December 9, 2013

Happy 7 Months!

Dear Family and Friends, 

Happy Birthday Scholz! You are going to love my card, it's hilarious. I love you!!

Happy Wedding to Landon and Hannah on Saturday. :) I'll be thinking about you. 

Happy Birthday to Uncle Neal on Saturday as well! 

Happy Birthday to Trenton on the 11th! Love you buddy!

Okay, so I'm going to plow through this email because I don't have much time! I'm headed to Niagara Falls today. :) So to start off -

Sister Woolf and I now have a 3rd companion - Sister Mendenhall. It's a little bit weird to be in a trio, but we are making it work. :) It is only temporary until the end of the transfer. Sister Mendenhall and I have been in the same district most of my mission, so we are already really close. I enjoy having her as a companion. 

This week was Zone Conference. It was incredible. It was so much fun to be with all of the other missionaries during this Christmas time. We centered the Conference on the Savior, and it was very spiritual. I'll just share one quote from President Scott - 

"He was rejected by some because He taught it, so we will be rejected by some because we teach it. He was hated by some because He taught it, so we will be hated by some because we teach it. However, that doesn't make it any less true."

We were also able to have a special visit from a General Authority on Saturday. Elder Hollstrum from the Presidency of the 70 came...amazing! There are 3 elements of change - 

1. Vision = Eternal Perspective
2. Willing to make commitments/covenants
3. Develop Self-Discipline 

We had a Christmas Party on Saturday night, and it was so much fun. I got to tell Santa everything that I wanted for Christmas. :) Trevor (the 89 year old less active) came and he really enjoyed it. He even came to the Christmas Devotional last night. Rekindling that fire…

So, I lost my planner! I sent home a package to you all last monday, and I may have accidentally put my planner in that package...if so, can you send it back?? If not, then it's with Ciera in her package. I'm losing my mind!

Jackie and Xavier are doing really well. :) They were both at church yesterday! We are still trying to work everything out for their baptism with the parents, so please keep them in your prayers!

We are working with amazing people here, and finding is going well. Transfers are next week, so if you don't send something today, then don't send anything until I give you the okay. :) I love you all. 

I will be thinking of you all this week, but I know that keeping my mind focused on the work is the best thing to do. :) I know that even more blessings await our family.

Love,

Sister Hardcastle

P.S. - I'll talk to you in about 2 weeks!!! WOOT WOOT!


Elder Fielding - one of the Assistants!
Sister Rees, my mission momma!!!
President and Sister Scott - most amazing people!!
By the Christmas Tree with Trevor :) 
Merry Christmas! 
Kendra - cutest little girl!!
Laura-Lee - my long lost Sister!
Happy 7 Months!
Eating treats with Jackie :)

Monday, December 2, 2013

Happy December :)

Dear Family and Friends, 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY Aunt Amy. :) I hope you have an amazing day! Love you so much!

I'm glad that everyone had such a great Thanksgiving...it sounds like everyone was stuffed to the rafters! Or in the words of Momma, everyone probably said, "I was so hungry and now I'm so full." Am I right?? Haha. Thanksgiving was fun for me in Canada. I had dinner at a member's house, and we all went around the table and said what we were thankful for. It was almost like home...almost…

Sister Woolf and I had a pretty good week. We achieved Standard again, which is awesome. :) We had two of our investigators at church yesterday, Mary and Michael. Mary was a former investigator and Michael is her 11 year old son. They had been once before, but it was a long time. They both really enjoyed it, especially Michael. He wants to come back really bad, so we're excited about that. 

Jackie and Xavier were at their mom's this weekend, so they weren't able to make it out to church, but all is well. We'll be seeing them lots this week. Keep them in your prayers. :)

We met some of the most amazing people this week that I can't wait to tell you about. Where to start??

Sue and Chris. So here's the story. We went on a Zone Blitz on Wednesday night and Sister Woolf and I were assigned a few streets to tract. We knocked on the door of Sue. She was so sweet and she let us in to get out of the cold. We were able to talk to her for quite awhile and she expressed how she wants us to come back. She has two beautiful little girls, Brynnleigh and Willow. I fell in love with Brynnleigh because it's like Brynn. :) She also mentioned how she thought Chris would be really interested because he's read the whole Book of Mormon. Say what?! Yeah. We were exited about them. So we went back on Friday to meet with them and it was awesome. Tracting works eh??

We met this 89 year old in-active. Best story! So we got a headquarters referral for this man named Trevor. His son requested that missionaries go visit him because he wanted to be taught again. He is the sweetest thing! He joined probably 60 years ago, and hasn't been to church for over 50 years. He was sealed to his sweet wife in the Salt Lake City Temple, who passed away after they joined the church. We spent quite awhile visiting with Trevor. He used to be a watch maker, so he showed us all of that, and even had us stay for lunch. Since he is a veteran, he has meals brought to him every week. He likes to save them up, so we had a nice TV dinner for lunch. We were inviting him to come back to church and he said the funniest thing. He said something along the lines of - "It's not going to be that easy. I want you both to put your heads together and think of a way to get me back." Hahah, Sister Woolf and I just looked at each other and smiled. Done and Done. :)

Jen. She is a less active, who has also been on my mind a lot recently. She lives pretty far away, but we were finally able to make it out to see her. I'd never met her before, so it was so much fun to get to know someone new. :) She is INCREDIBLE! She has such a testimony. She is working through a lot right now, and really wants to get back to church. She has two boys, one of whom is 9 and not baptized. So much potential with this family. As we were talking with her, the impression came into my mind to ask her about her patriarchal blessing. Turns out she hasn't gotten it yet, so she is working on getting that now. So awesome. 

Chelain. Okay this girl is Jessica. I'm not kidding. She is a less-active who lives with her boyfriend who is also less-active. They are both technically in YSA, but we went to go visit them. My goodness, it was awesome. Only Chelain was home, so we talked with her for quite awhile. I felt like I was just hanging out with Jessica. She is so down to earth and still has such a strong testimony. And get this - she loves Pooh Bear!! Meant to be.

Stephanie Lagos. She is the 28 year old daughter of a less-active whom we see quite often. I may have mentioned Stephanie before, but I can't remember. We went to visit her last night and it was the best. She is hilarious. Honestly. Put all the Hardcastle's together and that is how funny she is. It was a laugh a minute. It was a very spiritual and fun visit. I left that home feeling so at peace. I love it!

We have this Plan of Salvation diagram thing and something that we are doing is having the members try to put it together. Man, it is hilarious some of the things they do. Here is the order that one member put it together - 

Spirit World, Birth, Mortal Life, Death, Resurrection, Celestial Kingdom, Telestial Kingdom, Terrestial Kingdom, Judgement, Heavenly Home. 

Let's just say, we cleared things up. :) It is so fun. I love teaching the Plan of Salvation. Every single time I teach it I feel the Spirit. How lucky are we to have this knowledge? We should treasure it and most importantly - Share it. There are so many people who simply don't know their purpose and we literally have the answer to everything. How blessed. 

We had quite the experience this week helping a less-active move. Let's just put it this way - 6 cats lived in her house, the cops came and we had to go home and shower after. Not the best experience, but definitely one for the journal. 

The Medina's still don't answer their door, so we've been unable to work with them. It's super heartbreaking, but we keep praying for them. 

Well, my lovelies, it is now December. Which means Christmas and The Wedding of the Century. I hope that everyone remembers the true reason for the season this year. Let us all have the Spirit of CHRISTmas. :) 

I LOVE YOU ALL FOREVER!

Love,

Sister Hardcastle

"Have Faith, Have Hope, Live Like His Son, Help Others On Their Way"


Keeping Warm :)
Thanksgiving - round 2 :) 
Package from the Young Women :)
Gingerbread house :) 
Look what the Julian's bought me!!!
Merry Christmas. Like our tree??

Monday, November 25, 2013

Happy "American" Thanksgiving :)

Dear Family and Friends, 

Happy Birthday Grandpa Russ and Grandpa Ab!!! You both are the best. I hope you got my letters. I love you both!

It was a marvelous week for the dynamic duo - Woolf & Hardcastle. Doesn't that sound like a Law Firm? Sister Woolf and I were able to achieve the S.O.E. (Standards of Excellence) this week. We were able to see 3 of our investigators at church, and they all loved it. Who should we start with…

Okay, Ayse (Isha). She is from Turkey and speaks very little English. Her daughters were former investigators and that is how we found her, so cool eh?! We got a turkish Book of Mormon and she is loving it all. She thought church was really great too. It is so fun to teach her because it's so basic. It also helps that her daughters can translate for us!

Jackie and Xavier. They also came to church yesterday. They are a part-member family. Everything should be lined up for Jackie's baptism at the end of December, so we just need to get Xavier on board with it. I love them. We went to teach them last week and the Dad bought us Cheesecake to eat after the lesson. So awesome. 

The Medina's didn't come to church yesterday. We're still working with them. They are so awesome. Every time we go over there, Frank asks - "Are we getting baptized today?" Ahh I love it. 

We found a lot of new investigators this week, and the work is booming. I have no complaints...other than...it is really cold. Yesterday morning it was -10. I made Sister Woolf clear off the windshield while I sat in the warm car. ;) 

President Taylor (Dad's mission companion) took Sister Woolf and I out for dinner this past week. :) It was so much fun. I showed him pictures of our family, and he was very impressed. Great work Mom and Dad!

Here's a little run down on all of the families we are teaching right now - 

1. Healy's (Canadian)
2. Medina's (Columbian)
3. Vieyra's (Spanish)
4. Ayse & her daughters (Turkish)
5. Futuma & her kids (African American)
6. Mary and Michael (African)

I love how diverse Canada is. LOVE LOVE LOVE. 

So I'm starting the Book of Mormon from the beginning and there is something that I would love to share with you all. I'm starting to look at Nephi in a whole new light. As I was reading 1 Nephi 3 it hit me how much it applies to being on a mission. Laman and Lamuel were murmuring saying that going to get the plates was too hard to accomplish. There have been times on my mission when I feel the same way. However, Nephi is the perfect example of always following the commandments of the Lord. Whenever I'm feeling like I can't do this anymore, I'll have a companion, member, or one of you say something that will remind my of why I'm here. 

Verse 15 - "As the Lord liveth, and as we live, we will not go down unto our father in the wilderness until we have accomplished the thing which the Lord commanded us." 

In other words "As the Lord liveth, and as I live, I will not go down unto the wonderful land of Bountiful until I have accomplished the thing which the Lord commanded me." 

In other words again - "Return with Honor"

As Thanksgiving rolls around this week I just want to express my gratitude to all of you. THANK YOU for always supporting me and reminding me how much I am loved. I feel so eternally thankful to my Father in Heaven for entrusting me enough to come to this place. I love it here, and I cannot imagine my life without the experiences that I have had so far. My life has forever been changed.

Have an amazing week. Don't eat too much turkey! Also, when you go around the table and say what you are thankful for say this for me - "I am thankful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am thankful for the Atonement. I am thankful for every single one of you. I am thankful for my loving Heavenly Father and Savior. I am thankful for my mission."

I LOVE YOU!

Love,

Sister Hardcastle

"Have Faith, Have Hope, Live Like His Son, Help Others On Their Way"


President Taylor and me :)
Goofing off :)
I wanted this so bad…
Matching hats :)
Tis the Season!!!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Tender Mercy.

Dear Family and Friends,

Happy Birthday to the one and only Uncle Dan today! Woot woot!

Also, Happy Birthday to Jason tomorrow!

Oh - so last week I said that I would be coming home one year from that time, well oops it's actually one year from tomorrow! Sorry to get you all excited, but I'm grateful for the extra week. :) I'm not ready to even think about leaving this glorious place yet.

I experienced the most tender mercy this week. I'm sure that Dad has already told you all about it, but I'm going to share it again. :) This past weekend was Stake Conference here in Hamilton, Ontario. I didn't think that we were invited to go to the Adult Session on Saturday night, but turns out we were! Side note, President and Sister Scott were there! Anyways, President Taylor, who is in the Stake Presidency, spoke. He told a story about his time in the mission field when he had to train a new missionary after only being out for twelve weeks. When he mentioned that he served in Seoul Korea, my heart stopped. I knew that there would be a connection with my Dad. Well, after the conference, I couldn't find President Taylor, so I started talking to my Bishop. My first question to Bishop Julian was, "Do you know how old President Taylor is?" He was totally caught of guard and didn't understand why I'd be asking that, haha. Well finally I explained that my Dad also served in that mission, and I think that they know each other. I told Bishop Julian to ask President Taylor if he knew a Lloyd Hardcastle next time he saw him. Sunday morning rolls around and right when Bishop Julian sees me he comes running up and all he said was, "You won't believe this. That story that President Taylor told about training a new missionary was your dad." My jaw dropped. I immediately found President Taylor on the stand and talked to him for a few minutes. We agreed that after conference we would get a picture and talk more. He said very nice things about my Dad, and it was just such a miracle! Hopefully Dad and President Taylor can re-connect! God is so good!

As far as the week goes, it was a slower one, but still amazing indeed.

The Medina Family is doing really well. :) They weren't able to make it to church so we had to move their baptism date back to December 8th, but they are so prepared. We saw them last night and we taught them the Plan of Salvation. We were talking about how after they are baptized they will receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost, which is like having God's Spirit in your heart. Nicole said - "I want to have God in my heart like you Sister Hardcastle. I can see God in your heart." It actually made me cry, it was amazing. Sweet Nicole is such an angel!

Oh, I went on an exchange this week with the one and only Sister Waldron. This is my second exchange with her, and I just love her so much! She is from Idaho, and such a killer missionary. We stayed here in Hamilton and had lots of fun. Actually funny story, we exchanged on Tuesday night and Sister Woolf thought it would be a good idea to keep the phone with her. We didn't realize that we didn't have it until we had driven all the way back to Hamilton. So, Sister Waldron and I were phoneless all day. It was terrible! But we made it fun!

I had another special experience this week with the Spirit. There is this less-active who had been on my mind for WEEKS and I wasn't sure why. The first time we'd gone to see her, the reaction wasn't very good, so selfishly, I was a little hesitant to go back. However, as we were planning on Saturday night, the thought of "Go see Rebecca" kept coming into my head. I couldn't ignore it any longer. So yesterday, we went to visit her. She let us right in and was so excited to see us. She has a beautiful 10 year old daughter. We watched a Mormon Message with her entitled 'How Can I Find Happiness?' Afterwards she told us with tears running down her face that she knew that we were sent to her that day for a reason. That message is exactly what she needed, and her whole countenance had changed from when we first got there to when we left. It was really special for me, and it also taught me to NEVER IGNORE A PROMPTING. It is truly amazing to be a messenger from God that some one has been praying for. 

We are still working with amazing people and finding so much success and peace. I love this area, I never want to leave!

I would like to just finish up with the lyrics to my favorite song in the Children's Hymnbook -

"He Sent His Son"
How could the Father tell the world of love and tenderness?
He sent His Son, a newborn babe, with peace and holiness. 
How could the Father show the world the pathway we should go?
He sent His Son to walk with men, on earth, that we may know. 
How could the Father tell the world of sacrifice of death?
He send His Son to die for us and rise with living breath.
What does the Father ask of us?
What do the scriptures say?
Have faith, have hope, live like His Son, help others on their way.
What does He ask?
Live like His Son.

I hope that everyone has an amazing and safe week. And remember - Live Like His Son.

Love,

Sister Hardcastle

"Have Faith, Have Hope, Live Like His Son, Help Others On Their Way"

P.S. I challenge everyone to study the birth and life of the Savior in the Bible and The Book of Mormon. :)

Sister Waldron!
What to do when it's - 2 ??
President Taylor 
Our belated 6 month picture...

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

MIRACLES, MIRACLES, AND MORE MIRACLES :)

Dearest Family and Friends, 

Sooo much to say this week, so bare with me. 

First of all - Yes it is true, I have hit my 6 month mark. I can't believe it, and it makes me want to cry. Also, I will be returning home one year from today. Ahhhh

Second of all - It snowed twice this week. :) Last night was more snow than the time before, and it is really cold. It's a bitter, wet cold that just makes you want to cry. Haha, it's going to take some getting used to. Thank goodness for a car with a heater. 

Third of all - starting in January 2014 our mission will be using Facebook! More details to come...but pretty exciting eh….Unfortunately Canada is not included with the whole IPAD thing, so we won't be getting those…

Fourth of all - This week I dyed my own hair. HAHA I just bought some at Walmart, and it actually worked. :) I'm happy about it. It was quite the experience. 

I have lots to say regarding the amazing people that we are working with, but first, let me tell you about Sister Woolf. Sister Woolf and I met over Facebook on the Sister Missionaries page. We knew that we were going to the same mission on the same day, so we talked quite a bit. Come to find out, we are basically the same person. In the MTC we had so much fun. We were in the same district, and we just instantly became such good friends. No one ever thought that we would serve together and look at us now. This week has been one of the best weeks of my whole mission. I'm so pumped to work with Sister Woolf. We witnessed so many miracles this week -

Number one - Kerry. Kerry was able to receive a Priesthood Blessing on Sunday from the Elders to help her overcome some things. When we see her tomorrow, we are going to set a date for her to be done smoking and be baptized. She comes to church every single week, and it has been truly amazing to see the change in her from the first time I saw her. 

Number two - The Healy Family. We saw the Healy family this past week. We taught Laura (Less-Active Mom), Brianna, and Ricki, the Plan of Salvation. Both Ricki and Brianna are going to be baptized, but a date hasn't been set yet. It was an amazing lesson. Laura was able to bear her testimony and express how she wants to come back to church. I love that family so much. 

Number three - Zeynep and Ayse. Zeynep is 15 and she was a former investigator from awhile back. We dropped by to see her this past week, and her mom was home (Ayse). They are all from Turkey and the mom doesn't speak English very much. However, Zeynep would translate for us and it was amazing. They were planning on coming to church, but then they got sick, but they are solid. I can't wait to work with them. 

Number four - Jackie :) She is a 12 year old daughter of a Less-Active member who has not been baptized. Well, not for long. She is going to be baptized on December 22nd. :) She also has a little brother, Xavier who we haven't been able to meet yet, but he wants to be baptized too. 

Number five - The Medina Family. Okay. I have a lot to say about them. About a month ago in Ward Council the Bishop mentioned a family with a lot of kids that he just received the records for. We got the address, and just this past week we went to see them. The first night that we went by we were able to talk to the 15 year old son, John and the Mom, Paula. We found out that they are from Columbia, and they had been living in the house for 2 years (but no one ever knew who they were). The mom doesn't speak much english, but she was so excited to see us. We set up a time to go back the next day. Unfortunately, when we went back they weren't home. Well Sunday night rolls around and we felt so prompted to go to the Medina's house. Well, my friends. They were home. Paula let us right in and that is when I fell in love with this family. :) So there are 8 kids. You ready? Kim (19), Juan (18), John (15), Frank (11 almost 12), Maria (10), Nicole (8), Ana (6) and Miguel (4). We told them that we wanted to show them a video (The Restoration) and the kids got so excited. They started jumping up and down and next thing I know, the whole family room is transformed into a theater. It was the cutest thing. Ana kept saying, "I want to sit by Sister Castle!" All the kids watched the movie so reverently, it was amazing. We watched it in Spanish, so I didn't really understand very much but the Spirit was so strong. When the video was over, the first thing that was said was Frank saying "So, can I be baptized?" Sister Woolf and I just looked at each other, and we said "Yes, you can!" He got so excited. We found out that Paula, Kim, Juan, and John have all been baptized, but Frank, Maria, and Nicole have not. So we committed them all to baptism on December 1st. :) They can't wait to come to church. When we told them we were going to come on Wednesday night, Ana came up to me and asked, "How many more days until Wednesday?" I told her that she would have to wait 3 days for us to come back, and she was really sad. Then she asked, "How many more days until church?" I said 7, then she got even more sad. The kids are adorable, and I am completely in love with them. I found my Spanish Family. :)

The work with the ward is going well also. We are receiving more and more referrals and the work is hastening! The Less-Active members are coming to church, and investigators are coming out of no where! Just an update on my favorite Less-Active, Liz Hughes. She is doing so well. We asked if we could come practice teaching to her, and she graciously accepted. She is a returned missionary, so she was really excited. The members are the best, as always. We had dinner at the Julian's again last night and I found a LIFE SIZE BUDDY THE ELF!! (See picture). Needless to say, it made me day. Then we walked outside to snow - TIS THE SEASON!

So as you can see, we are being so blessed right now. We are working with so many amazing families. It is the most amazing thing to be a tool for my Heavenly Father and helping His other children come back to Him. I never want this to end. I'm learning more and more about what truly does matter in this life. The two main things are the Gospel and Family. I am so thankful to have been raised in this family. I have the most amazing parents, grandparents, siblings, in-laws, cousins, aunts and uncles, nephews and niece, I couldn't ask for anything more. I am grateful for the support that you all give to me. I can feel your love and your prayers. I feel my Savior's love everyday, and I have never been so happy in my entire life. Right now, everything has fallen into place and I feel so much peace. I know that that peace comes from serving Heavenly Father. I hope everyone has a fantastic and safe week. :) I love you!

Love,

Sister Hardcastle

"Have Faith, Have Hope, Live Like His Son, Help Others On Their Way"

Funny :)

Dying my hair….

From left to right - Me, Buddy the Elf, Brother Julian :)  

Sister Woolf and me :)