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 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."



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.


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


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!


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 :)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Happy November :)

Dear Family and Friends,

Is it really November? What is happening to the time?

Okay. Best thing ever this week. I finally got the pictures from the MTC from Mom. I will admit - a few tears were shed as I looked through them all. That was the hardest/saddest/craziest/happiest/scariest experience of my life. Leaving behind my amazing family and going into the unknown. That is something that I have learned to love about my mission. Every single day is like walking into the unknown. You never know who you are going to meet that day or what is going to happen, it's the best. Hey, thanks to Jessy for the letter as well. :) You always know what to say.

Niagara Falls was so much fun last week. I'll make sure ya'll get lots of pictures. It was really cold, and really beautiful. It felt weird being so close to my homeland. :) I will admit though, the Canadian side is better....It was so fun to go with Michelle Oswald, Sister P, Sister Bradshaw, and Sister Mendenhall. Sister Bradshaw and I were the only Americans in the group, so we took a picture by the American side. :) It was a great get-a-way and I hope to go back soon. When we got back from Niagara Falls, Sister P and I were talking to Sister Oswald about winter boots. Next thing I know, she went downstairs, and brought me up some perfect winter boots. She graciously gave them to me, and I am so grateful. Now I am all set for winter. I have a coat and boots, and I didn't have to spend a dime. :) I'm so frugal….be proud Dad. ;)

Yes, it is true. I have basically been on my mission for 6 months. Which means, this amazing experience is 1/3 of the way over. This time next year I'll be headed home to my favorite people in the world. I'm glad that I don't have to think about that for another year though. It has been hard, but it's the best. I've probably mentioned this before in past emails, but I'll say it again. Before my mission when all the RM's would say "A mission is so hard, but it's the best," I would just agree with them but secretly think - "It can't be THAT hard or no one would be going." Well, they were all right. It's SO difficult and I've never been so pushed in my entire life. Yet, I wouldn't trade it for the world. There is a deep sense of peace that comes from helping others draw closer to their Savior.

Kerry is doing well. She wasn't able to come to church yesterday because she went to visit her daughter who is away at the University. She is still progressing though - I love her! Cleveland came to church yesterday! We talked to him last night and he told us how much he loved church. He's been to church a lot, and sometimes he just falls asleep. Yesterday he said he felt something different though. We are hoping that this helps him make some progress because as of right now, he isn't sure about baptism.

The Healy Family is great, as always. Laura had to work yesterday, so they didn't come to church. Also, her husband is only home every other weekend, so that's going to be tricky. We taught Ricki (9) this past week. We used a fun game that has a racetrack with spaces that say either things that will help us get to Jesus, or things that will not help us get to Jesus. He loves cars so it really caught his attention. He loved it. :) It was like playing a game with Brynn.

We are working with some amazing Less-Actives as I've said in the past. Sister Jackett has been LA for awhile now, but she has come to church the past 2 Sundays and is doing really well. Liz Hughes hasn't made it out to church yet - but she is introducing her friend to the gospel. We are going over there on Wednesday to meet her friend, Donna. Liz is so amazing. She just lives right by our apartment, and I'm grateful for that because she honestly would do anything for us. I am excited to continue to work with her. I'm pretty sure working with LA is what this area needs right now. There are so many who just need to be reached out to. I love working with them and seeing that light come back into their eyes.

This week a girl from the ward left on her mission to London, England. I have gotten pretty close to her so it was another tough goodbye.

Halloween was fun. :) We had to be in our apartment by 6 pm so we didn't go Trick-or-Treating. :(  Haha, but we did have dinner at the Julian's, AKA BEST FAMILY EVER. We are also going over there tonight for dinner.

Okay here is the moment of truth about transfers….I'M STAYING! Imagine that, eh??? Sister Puruganan is headed to the glorious land of Guelph, Ontario. I will be getting a new companion and her name is Sister Woolf. Sister Woolf and I were in the same district in the MTC and let's just say - we had a lot of fun together. We are going to have so much fun, and I am so excited to stay in this area. I made it through without a disruption Dad!! I feel really good about it. Although, I will really miss Sister P. I learned a lot from her, but the biggest lesson would be humility. She is the most humble person in the world, and she really knows how to love. She will do amazing things in her life, and it was a privilege to serve with her.

Canada is freezing. It's usually about 0 degrees when we go out in the morning. With wind. Thank goodness we have a nice car that heats up fast. Poor Sister P has been so cold. The leaves are still falling and freezing to the ground. There is frost every morning. I can't wait to see snow on the ground. :) Tis the season!

I love you all, and I hope you have a safe and amazing week.

You're all in my prayers.

Sister Hardcastle

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

Headed to Niagara :)
So beautiful.
Posing Pigeon.
Proud to be an American.
Sister Oswald - My Angel!! :)
The Americans on the American side ;)
Cute, eh?
Rippley's Believe It or Not
The Sisters :)
This is for Jackson :)
This is also for Jackson….
Last one for Jackaroo
Me at Niagara
Sister P and me :)
Saying goodbye to Sister Smith :)
Beautiful puppy :)
Happy Halloween. Cutest package.
Look at my cute fam :)
Our cute Sunday dinner. A member made us all of this food.
The Hamilton Zone
The Mountain District! And the ZL's