Monday, February 24, 2014

What's a good subject?? :)

Dear Family and Friends, 



Does anyone remember what yesterday was? February 23, was the day that I was able to go to the Salt Lake Temple! One year....holy cow....time flies! That day is still one of the most cherished days of my whole life.

So it was a pretty good week here in Hamilton. All these Canadians are on Cloud 9 because of the Hockey outcome. Woo hoo! Gold for the win. I'm happy for Canada. :) I love this country!

Iain was confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints yesterday. It was so incredible! Sister Woolf and I were on the stand because we spoke in Sacrament Meeting, so we saw his face right after the blessing, he looked so happy! So yes, we spoke yesterday on the Plan of Salvation. I took the Pre-Mortal life section, and it went really well. I didn't have too much time to prepare, but the Spirit was there, which was all that mattered. I was able to bear my testimony of life before this earth. I know that we have a loving Father in Heaven that is SO concerned for our welfare. We are literally His Spirit children, and He loves us so much. 

We have experienced another miracle this week with Tim Cushnie's wife. We have started teaching her the lessons, and she even came to church yesterday. I love this family so very much. You know that feeling when you meet someone and you know that you knew each other well in the pre-existence? Yeah, that's how I feel about the Cushnie's, along with countless other people I've been privileged to meet on my mission. Last night we were sitting at the Cushnie's home and Tim said - "We must've known each other before this life." I had this huge overwhelming sense of peace because I know that that is true. God's plan is so perfect, and I know that I'm supposed to be here. 

I know you are all wondering how the weather in the frozen tundra is doing. It's warming up, but it's super windy. Apparently last week we had a "Alberta Clipper" and the warm sweep from Texas? Not really sure what it was, but it was a crazy thunderstorm. It started out with a crazy snow storm, then it went to rain and now it is all ice. I'm not lying when I say that I could ice-skate from place to place if I wanted to. 

Mary and Michael weren't able to come to church yesterday, but they are doing well!

Yesterday when we were driving, we saw George walking. Remember George? We haven't been able to see him for a month or so. It's pretty sad when people don't embrace the Gospel, even when they know it is true.

We came home one night to flowers on our doorstep. Not sure who they are from or why....But we were quite flattered!

Read this talk, you'll love it!

We have Zone Conference this week - so that should be awesome! Thank you so much for all that you do for me. I am so humbled for how much love I feel from your prayers. 

Have an amazing week. 


Sister Hardcastle

"Have Faith, Have Hope, Live Like His Son, Help Other's On Their Way"

Bagpipes with Iain!!!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Iain got dunked!!

Dear Family and Friends, 

I hope that everyone had an amazing Valentine's Day! Nothing too exciting happened in the mission field on that day....but I did love receiving your package!! Thank you so so much. Love you all. 

We got our car fixed! Yay! New throttle body?? No idea what that is. 

Sister Woolf and I hit our "Hump Day" together this week!! To celebrate we both wore what we wore when we first came out. We just had to dress a little warmer by adding leggings/scarves/hats/etc. Then we went to Taco Bell!! First time I'd had Taco Bell in a LONG time. It's better in the States though, sorry Canada. 

Iain was baptized on Sunday! It was the most Spiritual Baptism Program I've ever been to on my mission. All of the talks were incredible, and Iain even bore his testimony at the very end. I'm not sure if I mentioned this in last week's email or not, but Tim Cushnie, the man who baptized Iain was in a car accident last weekend. He already has a really bad back from a previous accident in 2005. He was super sore after the hit and wasn't sure if he was going to be able to baptized Iain. We arranged for him to have a blessing last week, and miracles happen. His back felt so much better, and he baptized Iain with ease. What a remarkable experience. I still remember our first lesson with Iain back at the beginning of January. In just 6 short weeks or so, Iain has completely changed. His outlook on life is clear and positive, and it has been an honor to take part. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is centered on His Atonement. That Atonement allows us to change. How grateful we should be to our Father in Heaven for sending His Son for us. 

We had the most amazing dinner this past week. A Spanish dinner with the one and only Vieyra family!!! It was so amazing. I can't spell any of the things that we had.. but I could barely walk as we were leaving their home. Man, those Spanish people know how to cook. Dallin, Jaclyn and Josh - you should all be so proud of me! I made a Hardcastle of myself. 

Funniest and cutest story with Mary and Michael this week. But first, Mary's heart has changed yet again. When we saw her last week she mentioned how much she missed us. They even made a sacrifice to just come to Sacrament meeting on Sunday because they were going out of town. The Spirit is remarkable! But here is the funny story. Yesterday we went to see them and we showed them several Mormon Messages. There is a Mormon Message about a little boy who walked along the hot sand with just flip flips on, even though his parents have told him in the past to wear good shoes. Long story short, he steps on a scorpion and has to get rushed to the nearest hospital which was two miles away. The moral of the story is to avoid the sting of sin by doing what we know we should do. The young boy knew that he should have worn good shoes, but instead he put on flip flips. Here is where is gets so funny. After the video was over, Michael stands up, says "One second" and leaves the room. Mary started laughing and Sister Woolf and I did too once we realized what he was doing. He went and put tennis shoes on!!! SO funny. Then the conversation went something like this - 

Me: "Michael, you know there are no scorpions in here, right?"
Michael: "Yeah, but there might be poisonous spiders!"

He is the funniest thing. So he sat for the rest of the lesson with tennis shoes on. And to make it even better, he was wearing two different shoes because he wanted to put them on so fast. Love that boy!! As we were leaving Mary gave us lunch to take home. Man, being a missionary rocks. 

I've been spending a lot of time studying chapter 4 of PMG about Recognizing the Spirit. There is a quote at the very end of the chapter by Dallin H Oaks that I wanted to share with you all - 

"A person may have a strong desire to be led by the Spirit of the Lord but . . . unwisely extends that desire to the point of wanting to be led in all things. A desire to be led by the Lord is a strength, but it needs to be accompanied by an understanding that our Heavenly Father leaves many decisions for our personal choices. Personal decision making is one of the sources of the growth we are meant to experience in mortality. Persons who try to shift all decision making to the Lord and plead for revelation in every choice will soon find circumstances in which they pray for guidance and don't receive it. For example, this is likely to occur in those numerous circumstances in which the choices are trivial or either choice is acceptable. We should study things out in our minds, using the reasoning powers our Creator has placed within us. Then we should pray for guidance and act upon it if we receive it. If we do not receive guidance, we should act upon out best judgement. Persons who persist in seeking revelatory guidance on subjects on which the Lord has not chosen to direct us may concoct an answer out of their own fantasy or bias, or they may even receive an answer through the medium of false revelation." 

I don't know why this stood out to me so much, but it did. There have been times on my mission when I have simply wanted help and revelation for every little thing. The lesson that I have learned is that God gave us our minds for a reason. We have been blessed with the power of understanding/decision-making/etc. God trusts us to make decisions. 

So Family Day was yesterday which is a pretty big deal in the blessed land of Canada. Jac and I have been talking, and we are now going to celebrate Family Day on President's Day. After all, you all have a Canadian Sister now. ;) 

It's time for Sister Woolf and I to get to work and find the elect! I love you all so much. Have an amazing week!


Sister Hardcastle

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

The whole Cushnie clan :)
Sister Woolf, Iain, and Me
Us with Tim...and mine and Iain's arms are so awkward, hahaha
Elvis Pose...hahah, best day ever! 
Spending the day with Nicole Hillman! The sister who is going to Madrid! 
Hump Day Outfit!!! I'm surprised it still fits... 
Taco Bell :) 
Vieyra's Spanish Dinner!
Valentine's Celebration with our matching scarves :)
Half-way picture...
I've been heart-attacked!!!
I love my missionary pillow case <3 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day

Dear Family and Friends, 

HAPPY VALENTINES THIS WEEK! This year, you are all my Valentines. :) Love you all SO MUCH!

Happy Birthday this week to Eric and Nyk!! Love you both! :)

So yes, I have been on my mission for 9 months, but the actual halfway mark is February 13th I believe. Unless I did my math wrong. Either way, time is just flying by. 

This week was a rough week. It seems as though almost everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. But hey, that just means an amazing week is right around the corner, right?!

Let's start off with our car - It's not working very well right now. It all started on Friday night when we got semi-stuck in some snow backing out of a driveway. Some warning sign came on that our engine power had been reduced and the car was shaking like crazy. We decided to laugh instead of cry. We made a few phone calls, and we set up a time to take our car in. We may be without a car for awhile. :( Which is perfect because that leads us to the next problem...Sister Woolf went to the doctor last week for her knee. It's been hurting her ever since she fell on it in November. So we went to get it checked out, she got some x-rays, and tomorrow she is getting an ultrasound on her knees. So it hurts for her to walk. Perfect timing, eh?? At least sometimes our car works. It got us to church yesterday. :) But barely got us home. Such is life. 

Next, we had a rough lesson with Mary and Michael this week. Mary told us that she doesn't like our church and doesn't want to come anymore. But that she was still okay with Michael going. It absolutely broke our hearts. We called her on Saturday night just to confirm Michael coming to church and to invite her one last time. Well are you ready for a miracle this week?? She totally came to church with Michael!! When we saw her walking through the doors it was pretty amazing. She had a big grin on her we'll see what happens with her. :)

Lots of investigators dropped us this week. Well, I guess that means more time to find the elect. 

We had such a sweet lesson with Iain this week! He is getting interviewed this Friday and baptized on Sunday. :) We taught him about the Armour of God and even drew him and dressed him up (see picture). It was so awesome! Iain was so fascinated about the wars in the Book of Mormon so we taught him about the converted Lamanites and how they buried their weapons of war. Then we got him all dressed up for modern day war. 

It snowed a lot this week. Nough said. 

We had a Zone Training Meeting this week. It was awesome. Sister Dyer is in the Hamilton Zone!! It was so good to see my MTC Companion again. :) I was able to bear my testimony at the end, which is always a fun thing to do. I love being a missionary. 

Did I ever tell you all about the time that Sister Woolf and I got kicked out of another church?? Funny story....we had been informed by a member about this church that needed volunteers to make sandwiches for the homeless. Well, we went by a few weeks ago to help them out. They weren't making sandwiches at the time, but we helped them sort some things. We had been in contact via text with one of the ladies there. She asked if we could come back when they were making sandwiches. Long story short, we went back and we were told that the Pastor wouldn't let us come in unless we took our tags off. Well, since that wasn't an option, they told us we had to leave. Isn't that interesting?? It made me realize yet again how much I love my name tag. I don't ever want to take it off. 

We saw some amazing less-actives this week. Always fun to work with them and help them feel the Spirit. 

Oh, I almost forgot. Sister Woolf and I taught Relief Society yesterday. It was pretty nerve racking, considering we had basically no time to prepare. Thank goodness for the Spirit! We taught about the Plan of Salvation. It was so powerful. We have the most amazing knowledge of God's plan for us and WAY TOO MANY people don't know about this plan. It was a huge testimony builder to me of this plan. I know that it is true. 

Well, family, since this week is Valentine's day, I thought I'd share a thought about LOVE. :)

1 John 4:16 - And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love, and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.

I love you all so very much. I know that the Savior and Heavenly Father have perfect love. I know They love every single one of you. I know that we need to share what we love with those around us. 

Have an amazing week. 


Sister Hardcastle

"Have Faith, Have Hope, Live Like His Son, Help Other's On Their Way"

Fun at the Doctor's.....
I look SO much like Lauren in this picture!!! This is what we always have to do with our car...clean out all the nasty snow.
Sister Dyer :) 
Iain all dressed in his Armour!
Crystal-Lynn Smith :)
NINE MONTHS!!! Celebrating with a brownie :)

Monday, February 3, 2014

9 Months this week ... crazy!

Dear Family and Friends, 

All of you have seemed to remind me this week that I do hit my 9 months this coming Saturday. Although it is not quite halfway, it freaks me out! This has been the best 9 months of my life - full of laughs, cries, miracles and trials. One thing is for sure - I wouldn't change it for the world. There have been times on my mission that have been so hard...and it gets me feeling like I am going to be here forever. However, there are times like right now, when I feel like time is going by too fast. I don't want this to end...sooo let's not think about that. :)

This week has been a pretty good one. The work is moving right along. Michael was confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints yesterday. It was the cutest thing! They had him sitting in a chair at the front of the chapel, and after the prayer was over - he booked it back to his seat. He was practically running. What a cutie! His mom, Mary, looked like she was on cloud 9 yesterday. We are going to be working with her so closely. We are hoping to set her with a baptismal date this week for sometime in February. She told us that she knows the Book of Mormon is true, and she believes in Joseph Smith. So much progress!! Thank you for your prayers on their behalf. They are truly miracles, and I feel like I was sent here to find them. 

Another story about Michael. Brother Dave Oswald was the one who baptized him and told Sister Woolf and I this story. After the actual ordinance, when Michael and Brother Oswald were changing in the bathroom, Michael looked up at Brother Oswald and simply said, "Thank you." I wish you all could hear Michael's voice. It is the cutest thing. It really touched Brother Oswald. 

Iain - So solid. So prepared. So golden! We moved his date again to February 16th because his mom wants to be at his baptism. That is the soonest that she could be there, but all is well. It is incredible that his mom wants to support him, so the 16th it is! He met with the Bishop yesterday and is basically a member of the ward. Just gotta get him baptized! We send him chapters to read in the Book of Mormon, and he loves it. It is amazing to see people truly become converted to the gospel. Iain even fasted on fast Sunday. :)

We found the coolest new investigators this week. I love it!! George bombed our appointment, so we went to see another investigator - Ayse, and she wasn't home either. Well, you always need a back-up plan to a back-up plan, so we planned to just walk around and work in the neighborhood. It was snowing pretty bad, so we figured people would be outside shoveling. We started walking a certain direction, and it was so cool because it was like Sister Woolf and I turned around and started walking the other direction without using words. We both just turned around and started walking the other way. Sister Woolf simply said - "We were going the wrong way." I nodded and we continued. Well we noticed a girl and guy sitting on their doorstep smoking. The girl was on the phone when we initially approached them, and the guy wasn't too interested. Well, turns out they are divorced from each other, but the guy just comes over to see the kids. The mom (Merita) had just failed a huge test for her college class and was really bummed. She let us in and we taught her and her two kids (Medina - girl &12 and Emir - boy & 10). Medina reminds me so much of Ashlyn! She is the sweetest thing. They were going to come to church yesterday, but things didn't work out. All is well! We are excited to work with them. It is truly amazing the miracles that happen when you let the Spirit guide you. I've had so many experiences when I have either started walking a certain way, turned around, etc. and I know it is the Spirit telling me where to go. I love it!

Jackie and Xavier are doing well. They were both at church yesterday! We set them with a new date for March 5th, which is a Wednesday, but it is what they wanted, so no complaints. :) The whole Vieyra family has been coming to church 3 weeks in a row...yet another miracle. 

Sister Woolf and I spent a day in a part of our area called Caledonia. It is a small town and absolutely beautiful. :) See the picture that I'll attach. SO the new Elder in the ward, Elder Burgener, knows Jason Elder! They went to high school together. Small world. 

This coming week should be an awesome one. We are truly seeing the work move along. Sister Woolf and I are excited to hit our 9 months together. We'll probably go to Tim Horton's or Swiss Chalet to celebrate. Did I mention I am going to miss those places when I come back to the States?? Canada has been so good to me. :)

Well, I wanted to end this email with a scripture that has pulled me through many times on my mission: 

1 Peter 5:6-7 - "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you."

I know that is true. I know that Jesus Christ cares for all of us. I know that we cannot go through this life without Him. I love Him, and I know that He lives. 

I love you all. Have an amazing week. Be strong. :)


Sister Corinne Hardcastle

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

Caledonia - It's beautiful!!!

My crazy Canadian Hat!