Monday, May 26, 2014

Never-ending Miracles in Napanee....

Dear Family and Friends, 

How was your week?! 

Happy Memorial Day to everyone in America right now! We don't celebrate that here. :)

First things first....Happy Birthday to Nicolas and Sam this week! And if I'm not mistaken, Sam is graduating this week, too. Congrats!

Happy 1 year on Thursday to my favorite sister missionary ever - Sister Belyea. Love you long time! See ya soon. :)

Another item of week is transfers. Can you believe it? I can't. So, don't send anything until I give you the OK. I feel like I may be leaving. 

This was such an awesome week with so many miracles....I'm not even sure where to start. 

Stephanie - we received a HQ referral for her because she wanted a Bible. We called and set up a time to go see her, and she is SO GOLDEN. She is in her 30's and has two kids and a husband. She talked to us for almost two hours and had probably 843,902 of the best questions I've ever been asked. Suffice it to say - she committed to be baptized on June 29th. But here is the bad news, she actually isn't in our area. :( There was a mix-up in the texts, and she is in the Kingston sisters' area. So we are passing her off to them tomorrow, but Sister Woolf will be teaching her now, so it's like a part of me is teaching her too, right? Haha, it's bittersweet. God's will, not mine. 

We went on exchanges on Friday!! Sister Zerkle came to Napanee with Sister Puruganan and I. She is from Las Vegas and is the oldest of TEN kids! Woot woot. Yay for big families. She is the funniest missionary I have ever met. Seriously, we were laughing the whole day. It was....refreshing. :) It reminded me how important it is to be yourself as a missionary. 

This week I was able to be in the most spiritual dinner appointment of my entire mission. Literally I couldn't even speak because tears were flowing while Sister Puruganan was bearing her testimony. It was with the Bonser's, the wife is active and the husband has been inactive since the 80's. This is the second time I've had dinner over there, and it was incredible. I don't know if I will be able to describe in words what happened. Brother Bonser opened his concern about coming back to church without us even asking. He shared his testimony, and the Spirit was so thick. He said that if he had a calling, he would feel more reason to come back. Sister Puruganan bore such an incredible testimony, and if you could see the look on Brother Bonser's face - Ahhhh!!! I love missionary work. We invited him to come to the baptism this Wednesday and he said YES! Progress, my friends.

So the Bonser's live in this village called Yarker, so we went exploring after our appointment with them. Let's just say....bug bites everywhere! I love going to the smaller towns in this always find nice people.

JAMES! He is getting baptized in TWO DAYS! He is sooo excited. Please keep him in your prayers! Last night we were teaching him and this is one of his answers to a question we asked him - 

Sister Puruganan - "What helps you the most when you read the Book of Mormon?" (Because he used to not be able to understand anything he read)

James - "Knowing that everything that is said is true."


His interview went well, it was over an hour because our District Leader likes to talk a lot. 

Brother and Sister Wales got sealed in the Temple this weekend, after 40 years! Brother Wales just got baptized in 2012. They had a reception at the Branch President's house. On the way there it SNOWED/HAILED. It was insane. The roads were covered white, and it was so foggy. It's May....can you believe it? However, it warmed up to 25 degrees like an hour later. Haha, I love Canada!

Funniest story ever happened at church yesterday. A newly activated member brought two non-member friends. Ken and Mabel. They are suupppper old and can barely hear, but they are the sweetest! After Sacrament Meeting, Ken wanted to sing to Sister Puruganan, and so he sang her two songs at the top of his lungs. I was sitting there in utter shock, thinking that he was going to realize how loud he was being. Well, he didn't know because he's basically deaf, but I almost had to cover my ears it was so loud. I eventually put my head down because I was giggling and the whole branch was soo confused. Hahah, it was a priceless moment. Sister Puruganan held it together pretty well, then just about died laughing after church. I love old people! 

We went to our investigator's house, Marg, who is 95, and she wanted us to make some crafts with her. It was pretty interesting to make these crafts and teach the gospel at the same time. But it worked. Then she hemmed FOUR of my skirts. Prayers = answered. 

We have interviews with President Scott this week. Last one before he departs. :( It will be bittersweet. 

Something that I read this morning really stood out to me -

Luke 22:31-33

"And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death."

I love you ALL. Have a safe week and pray that I stay in Napanee. :) Just kidding, I'll go wherever the Lord wants me. 


Sister Hardcastle

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

WE ARE ALL NUTS! So cute, eh?
Craft Day with Marg.
So... I found the gold plates.
Oops....Sister Wales knocked her drink all over Sister P! 
Frog hunting with Steve.
Possibly the last district meeting with all of us :/ 
Soo bright.... 
I got to see the one and only Sister Woolf for like two seconds! 
Sister Zerkle and me.
A member gave me this sweatshirt. So comfy!
Morgan...."Sister Heartcastle"

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


Dear Family and Friends, 

As of today I have officially been in Canada for one year!! Woot woot. I'm practically Canadian. Let's see some of the things that Canada has changed about me...

1. I say 'eh' or 'aye' however you want to spell almost every sentence. And I have a slight accent, not too bad.
2. I drink milk out of a bag....and that's just normal.
3. The word 'cold' isn't in my vocabulary anymore. It's either normal or it's unbearably freezing.
4. I have scars all over my legs from nasty black fly thanks.
5. I eat vinegar on my french fries....and gravy. 
6. I'm bound to have to own a cat when I have my own house....because every Canadian has about 50.
7. Cigarette smoke has become a very fond smell of mine. It feels rather odd to walk into a house and not smell it. I will probably die from it, haha.

The list could go on and on, but let's just leave it at this - It's been a good year (I'll get back to that later on in my email).

This week was awesome....seriously. Heavenly Father has such a sense of humor. Speaking of the black flies, they are everywhere. We were working in this tiny town, and I definitely ate some and got several bites all down my legs. I'll send pictures sometime. 

We spent a lot of time in the yard this week. One word - Allergies. Ughh, I forgot how much they suck. But no worries. We helped some recent converts in their yard and I found probably 234 worms. Then, on Saturday we had a referral that we needed to contact. All we knew about her was that her granddaughter is a less-active member and that she was in her 90's. Well, as we went to her house, she was walking outside to do some yard work. We offered to help her, but she didn't want us to get our nice clothes dirty. Well, guess what? Our service clothes were in the car just in case. So we changed and helped her for several hours. Her name is Marg, and she is the sweetest lady I've ever met. She had tons of "Forget me Nots" in her garden so she gave me some to take home. After we helped her in the yard, she let us in and gave us ice cream and cookies. We're going back this week to plant flowers. It was awesome. :) Such a tender mercy.

On Sunday, Sister Puruganan and I spoke in Sacrament. It went well, but yet again it was hilarious. So many funny moments this week. Sister Puruganan went first and spoke for about 7 minutes. I get up there and realized that there was 35 minutes left in Sacrament meeting. Hahahaha, let's just say....I filled the time. My topic was Ephesians 4:26. Look it up. Pretty impressive that I expounded on that for that long. Talking in Sacrament will never get easier. It's still scary.

Guess what I ate this week? Moose. It was soooo good. Looks like I'll have to start hunting moose at the cabin when I get home. What do you think?

James is doing so great! Tonight we are planning his baptism program and making sure the clothes we have fit him. He went out of town this past weekend, but still made it to church in Kingston. He truly has a testimony and it's humbling to see the Spirit work in him. He'll be all set for May 28th. Keep him in your prayers. Satan will work really hard....

So back to "good year"....Yesterday, we ventured to a street called Goodyear because we were told that there was a family from the Philippines that lived there. Okay. There are seriously about 5 houses on the whole street....all about a 10 minute walk away from each other. Yesterday the weather was so minute sunny....the next pouring rain. We took our chances and parked our car and started knocking on doors. We got to two doors when it started HAILING like crazy. We were out in the middle of nowhere and our car was about a 15 minute walk away. We started running as fast as we could to the car. We were just laughing our heads off because it was so fun. Two cars pulled over and asked if we wanted rides, but we declined. By the time we got back to our car we were soaked from head to toe. Sister Puruganan and I couldn't stop laughing the rest of the day because it was so funny. Then guess what? As we started driving home, the rain stopped and it became sunny again. God is really funny. :) So that street has lots of meaning now. What a Goodyear it's been. Oh, and we haven't found that family yet. But we will!

I've been pondering a lot about the experiences I've had over these past 12 months. I wouldn't trade them for the world. It's truly amazing how inspired mission calls are. I have no doubt in my mind that I am exactly where the Lord wants me to be. Going on a mission isn't a sacrifice at all, my friends, it's the biggest privilege ever. Everything that I left behind has been made up 100 fold. The people I've met here have shaped me and made me a better person. I've become more like my Savior and my love for others has increased beyond my capacity to express. It's truly a remarkable feeling to testify of the love God has for others and to be able to feel a bit of that love. Thank you so much for your support and love. I know that the last 6 months will fly by, so I need to soak up every single moment. I have 6 more months to do it, and an eternity to reflect on it. 

I love you all. :)


Sister Hardcastle

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

Look at that rose!! (It's fake)
I tuck my pants into my socks to avoid bugs crawling up me.....hahah the new style
I'm trying to like cats....I really am.
So pretty!
Forget Me Not flowers :) 
Look at this tiny stop sign....
After the whole running in the rain fiasco.
So fun!
Goodyear :)

Monday, May 12, 2014

Mother's Day!!

Dear Family and Friends, 

First things first - IT WAS SO GOOD TO SEE YOU ALL YESTERDAY! You have no idea how happy I was when I realized how many people were there. Thank you all for making my day! That is the last time we will do that before I'm home.....bittersweet....I think, yes?

Next....preparation day next week will be May 20th, because May 19th is a holiday. SO I will be emailing on Tuesday, not Monday. 

So my year mark was just a normal day in the mission field....weekly planning, lunch at the park, coordination meeting, teaching James, teaching Mike, talking to people, planning some more, etc. It was a very warm day though, so no complaints. :) I can't believe it's been a year. I remember last Mother's Day in the MTC I was basically distraught and thought I would never see my mom it's been a year and I feel like I get to see her SO SOON. Love you mamma. 

I'm not going to have too much to say because I just talked to you all, but I do have some funny stories that happened this week.

First....we had dinner in Centreville last Wednesday (the home that I skyped you at), and we decided to walk around their home after dinner and talk to people walking their dogs, working in the yard, etc. The first thing we saw was a baby chipmunk, then a rabbit, then a bunch of cows. We started talking to the cows and asking them to come over and see us....well....the whole herd of them starting walking towards us....then the leader of the pack did this scary jump and they started to come faster and faster towards us. Sister Puruganan was about to die she was so nervous. Good thing they were fenced in. It was scary, but so hilarious. Later that night I held a chinchilla. Animals....

Another funny story takes place in the village of Roblin, which is about 15 minutes north of Napanee. We were going up to do some service for some non-members, but they weren't feeling well, so we decided to knock a few doors. Roblin is a lot like country. Well, we got to the doorstep of one of the houses and next thing I know, Sister Puruganan is screaming and running away. Well, there was a bird's nest in the wreath of their door and she scared the bird so bad that as it flew away it pooped all over her. It was priceless. I will send pictures. :) Don't worry. She had such a good attitude about it and just laughed it off. 

James, our investigator getting baptized, is doing so well. He completely quit coffee now and reads the Book of Mormon like it is his job. It's awesome. We have some other awesome people that we are working with, so hopefully they can start progressing. On Saturday night, we were doing our usual drop by and invite people to church for the 84,930 time. We had a referral that we needed to contact, so we went to this house, not knowing what to expect. The lady opened her window on the second floor and expressed how she couldn't come down because she had just showered. We told her we were missionaries and she said we could come back in 30 minutes. So we did, and she let us in, and she gave us chocolate and a cold drink. We showed her how to listen to the Book of Mormon online, because she doesn't like to read. Then we found out that she knows a member of the Branch Presidency really well. She's awesome. :) God is so good.

During District Meeting our phone kept ringing....low and behold it was President Scott. He called 10 minutes apart from each other. Needless to say, my heart dropped. Turns out he just needed to give us an update on some people because he technically presides over the Kingston District. It was pretty cool to talk with him on the phone for a bit though. President and Sister Scott only have about a month left on their mission. :(

I'm not sure what else to say. I love you all. Thank you for being so supportive and so amazing. I couldn't do this without you. 


Sister Hardcastle

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

The cows that wanted to attack us....
Our reaction after the cow incident....
Fun pictures :)
Not the best angle....but I'm literally holding a chinchilla!
One year...
Thanks for the Pooh Bear, Jac :)
One year package....thank you!
Poop story....hahah Kallie while I'm gone <3
Love you all!
Sister P calling the cool to hear her speak Tagalog!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Come What MAY and Love It!

Dear Family and Friends, 

Congrats to my girl Lizzy on her wedding day today. :) I will be thinking of you!

So, yes the rumor going around is true! This week does mark my one year. Exciting! What an incredible year. I can sum it up in just three words - tears, trials, and triumphs. I wouldn't trade it for the world. These next six months are going to be the best!

Not much has changed up here in the north. It's nice and sunny today, but it has been rainy and windy the whole week. Which makes missionary work quite an adventure. One fun thing that happened this week - 

We had an appointment to teach Steve, the recent convert, but it was raining so hard outside. We didn't want to meet at Tim Horton's because it is always so loud and distracting in we decided to each get umbrellas and go to the picnic table down by the river. It was sooo cold and wet, but so awesome. We each were huddled up over the scriptures so they didn't get wet. It was one of the best lessons ever. The memories of a mission are priceless. :)

We had Zone Training this past week in Kingston. I don't know if I've ever talked much about the Kingston Zone, but it is very tiny compared to the other zones in the mission. In fact, there are only 7 companionships! So we get pretty close to each of them, it is awesome. At the meeting, we created our own Title of Liberty. We compared Captain Moroni to President Scott and came up with this -

"In memory of the one who needs us, our past, our present, and our future, our love for our Savior and our God, our duty to stand for truth while time flies on wings of lightening, our families left behind, and in remembrance of His great and last sacrifice: personal, infinite and eternal."

The way we got into making our own Title of Liberty is the question of what motivates you to fight? That is such a good question for all of us to ponder. What motivates you to keep going and to do all that you do?

James is doing so well! He came to church again, and is preparing for his baptism on his birthday on May 28th! I love teaching him. It's the most humbling and joyful thing in the world. 

I colored my hair this past week. It turned out well. Doesn't look too much different than before. I'll send pictures!

I wish I had more to update you all on....This week we did a lot of finding. We met some super awesome potential investigators that we are excited to work with. The work is truly hastening....

You know that awkward moment when you are tracting and someone answers and lets you right in? It's the best thing, and it totally catches you off guard. Yup, that happened this week with a nice old man named Gerald. Apparently he has met with missionaries in the past. And his cousin is our Branch Mission Leader! Small world. His friend Grace was there, so we were able to teach them both. Awesome!

I am so excited to talk to you all on Sunday!!! This week was so crazy busy that I didn't really arrange a time....but I do know which member we are going to skype at. I just need to figure out times and then I'll have a member email one of you to let you know. :) Also, I will be calling on Saturday night to confirm everything. When I call this time, don't give me any big news like you did last time. :) Please and thank you.

Mommy - this paragraph is dedicated to you. I remember last Mother's Day I was in the MTC and I was pretty bummed from missing you. However, I have slowly come to realize that the experiences that I am having here are going to help me become a mother like you. You truly are the most Christlike and selfless person I have ever met. How grateful I am to Heavenly Father that He sent me to you. You are my angel here on earth and I love you dearly. Thank you for all that you do for me each and every day. I feel your prayers and I have never once doubted your love for me. 

To all the other mothers in my life - aunts/sisters/grandparents/etc - I love you all so much!! I hope everyone has an amazing Mother's Day. :)

I love my Savior. I love His work. I love my calling. 

Have an amazing week! Xoxoxo


Sister Hardcastle

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

Colored my hair! 
I got to see Sister Woolf!! Woot woot! 
Package from Dal and Jess! Thank you SO much!