Monday, July 28, 2014

"The Gospel is not weight; It is wings - It carries us."

Dear Family and Friends, 

HAPPY 30th BIRTHDAY TO MY ELDEST BRO TOMORROW!! I love you Nans! You don't look a day over 20. ;) Have an amazing day. 

Also, Happy Birthday to Aunt Lisa on Friday!! Love you lots!

This week was AWESOME. Although I do have some bad news....Unfortunately after a long stretch of a perfect driving record, I got an aggressive driving on the TiWi in the car. This device tells you if you drive too fast, turn too sharp, stop too fast, etc. Sooo, apparently I was driving too aggressively. Sister Puruganan could not stop laughing after it happened, which made me laugh, so now we just laugh about it. Don't worry, it won't affect anything. :)

We found such a sweet new investigator this week, Tom! We met Tom through Courtwright (the one who always feeds us, isn't a member). Tom came to church with Cortwright two weeks ago, and we started teaching him this week. He came to church again yesterday and loved it. He is one of the most open and sincere people I've ever been blessed to teach. He hasn't set a baptismal date yet, although he is pretty much prepared and could get baptized very quickly. So we'll see how it goes! 

Jim....Miracles never cease my friends! We taught the Plan of Salvation to him and his wife on Thursday night. I can't express the love that was in that room. After the lesson was over, Brother Leavens practically bore his testimony to us. He expressed that he still isn't sure what he is going to do as far as joining the church, but then he added - "One day, if I don't join the church, I'll probably wish I listened to you two." (He said this with a huge grin on his face). Love him! 

Hope....Didn't come to church again. Bless her heart. She keeps all of the commitments, but then something comes up so that she can't come to church. We'll see what happens with her.

I mowed a lawn for one of the elderly sisters in the branch. It was so much fun. But man, allergies. Enough said. 

We have an entire trout in our fridge right now....long story....but yeah we'll be good on food for the week! Haha, I'm falling in love with seafood, thanks to my dear companion. 

Sister Puruganan and I decided that we needed some change, so we rearranged our entire apartment the other night. It is sooo much better. It feels like a whole new place. I love it. Change is a good thing!

James is doing awesome! He is reading the Book of Mormon from the beginning. He said he was reading in 1 Nephi 11 when it talks about the Holy Ghost being in the form of a dove, and then he told us about how soon after his baptism, he was sitting in his room looking out the window, and there was a dove on one of the trees staring at him. Chills! That was before he received the Holy Ghost. Isn't that so cool? After our lesson with James when he was saying the closing prayer, I cheated and opened my eyes to look at him. The physical difference in him is apparent, and I know I've mentioned it before. He doesn't even look like the same person. He is glowing....So grateful for him. 

This week I experienced so many tender mercies and confirmations from the Spirit that I am exactly where I need to be. In the lessons with Tom and Jim I felt the most inner happiness that is hard to be described. It's a happiness that doesn't come overnight, but comes because of a relationship with my Savior. How grateful I am for the love that He shows to me each day. I know that Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers, often through other people. 

In regards to the title of my email this week - this was a quote given in General Conference in April. Isn't it so true though? I find that so many of the less actives that we visit don't come to church because they feel either it takes too much time or they don't want the commitment. Not necessarily only with church, but with simple things like reading the scriptures. What they don't realize is that all of these things are not meant to weigh us down, but give us freedom. I just love that quote.

I wanted to finish off this email with a scripture in John 21:15-17.

"So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs"

"He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep."

"He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep."

I love you all, more than you'll ever know!


Sister Hardcastle

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

Animal Lover....
A baby mouse....It died. :(
Stephanie and her fam at her baptism!

Monday, July 21, 2014

I love Napanee!

Dear Family and Friends, 

I hope that as I write this email I will be able to come up with a cool subject line....we'll see. 

Happy 24th of July this week! Canadians definitely don't celebrate that holiday, but I'll be thinking of all of you! 

This week was awesome. And hilarious. Seriously, it's been one of those weeks when Sister Puruganan and I just laugh and laugh. Last Monday we went fishing with one of our investigators. Let me tell you....I haven't laughed that hard in a long time. I have a really great video, but it's too big to send, so you will just have to wait until I get home to show you. Sister Puruganan was catching fish after fish and I wasn't catching anything. Finally, Allen got me a barbie fishing pole, and I started catching these tiny fish. Haha, but it was definitely a great day. In fact, we are going fishing again today with some members and Allen. It's become my new hobby. So, Dad -  I'm going to want a fishing license when I get home. Deal?

James was so happy that we are both staying! We went to our appointment with him on Monday night, and he was on the phone with his member friends in Kingston and he said - "I get to keep my sisters for another six weeks." Ahh I love him! Sister Woolf was in Kingston, but they took the sisters out of that area - so now just our Zone Leaders are there. Speaking of James though, he came teaching with us for the first time this week! He loved it. I think he was a little nervous, but he bore his testimony and it was awesome. We were teaching Hope, which is someone that has been taught off and on for almost 8 months. Talk about eternigator. Sister Puruganan and I stopped teaching her at the end of May, but she texted us saying she wanted to meet. She set a baptismal date for the middle of August, but she didn't come to church, so we'll see. However, she does believe the Book of Mormon is true, which is a big step so we're excited!

The Leavens family....I shall update you on them. Sister Leavens is very sick. She's been battling cancer for almost 5 years, and things are just going down hill. In fact, last week she was admitted into the hospital for several days. We went to see her there on Tuesday, and she was in high spirits. She always has such an incredible attitude, it's refreshing. Brother Leavens is struggling with it though, you can tell he is so worried. They sent her home from the hospital on Wednesday, and on Thursday night we dropped by. We showed a Mormon Message to their family which really invited the Spirit in. It is going to be difficult for me to put into words the way the remainder of our visit went. It was one of those times that I will truly never forget. One of those times when I am just full of humility and gratitude to my Father in Heaven for allowing me to be serving here at this time. Sister Leavens is an incredible writer, and she pulled out some of her poems and read them to us. Some were religious, some funny, some educational. Tears were flowing from everyone's eyes. We were talking about what happens after we die and how they can be together forever. Sister Puruganan said the closing prayer in Tagalog, and although no one knew what she was saying, the Spirit was speaking to all of us. I wish I could express my feelings, haha and I can't. All I can say is I felt so much love for that family that it was overwhelming. I couldn't help but just weep as I hugged Sister Leavens after the prayer. I am so grateful I met this family. They have inspired me in sooo many ways. Brother Leavens even came to church alone yesterday. Miracles!!

So while we were at the hospital visiting Sister Leavens, she had one of her friends there, Marg. We offered service to Marg and she accepted. So we went to her home on Wednesday morning. She lives about 20 minutes north of Napanee in a shack! I'm serious, it was awesome. She has no electricity or running water. She has gardens, chickens, etc. Oh, and of course an outhouse. Priceless.

The Young Women wanted us to come to their activity this week to provide the spiritual thought. It was really fun, and a flashback to my time in Young Women's. Except there are only 2 Young Women here, and only 1 came. What can ya do? Anyways, they were having a spa night, so I got to get a facial, haha. Sister Puruganan got really sick that night with some sort of nasty migraine that lasted until Saturday morning. She still is having headaches....uh oh. I might be rubbing off on her! Thanks to you Jess, she has medicine that is helping! 

I'm not sure if there is too much else to update you on. On Saturday, we went tracting and were talking to a minister for about 30 minutes. I asked him to explain the Trinity to me, and he couldn't do it. It was kind of amusing, but also sad. It's unfortunate that basic doctrines that are so easy to understand get skewed and confusing. We should be so thankful for the truth that we have.

As I've been pondering and thinking about my time in Napanee, I am full of peace. It's been so challenging and so hard, but so stinking amazing! I love this area with all my heart, and I am excited that I am here for at least 5 more weeks. I hope everyone has an amazing week.  :)

I still haven't come up with a good subject.


Sister Hardcastle

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

My Barbie Fishing Pole
Sun Fish....their fins are pokey!
Such a fun day!
We ate a full rack of proud!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Napanee - round 4?

Dearest Family and Friends, 

Wow - Happy Birthday to Elsie tomorrow! I can't believe you're already one!

I have the greatest news in the entire world that I forgot to email about a few weeks back. Do you remember Mary, from Hamilton? Michael was baptized in January and Mary is his mom. Sister Woolf and I found Mary last November, and she was just recently baptized! It's hard to describe the joy I felt when I found out about this! Also - Stephanie, the investigator that Sister Puruganan and I found, then passed off, was also baptized! Hopefully I'll be able to get some pictures and send them. :)

Transfer news....Sister Puruganan and I are staying in Napanee together! We are both kinda shocked. We were definitely expecting a call. At the end of this transfer, we will have spent 1/3 of our missions together. What a blessing! She has been such sweet companion, and we have been through a lot together. I wouldn't want to be serving with anyone else or anywhere else right now!

Man....Canada can't make up it's mind on the weather. It rained soo much, but it was also soo hot at other times. Crazy crazy. But so fun! On Tuesday we went to this tiny town called Newburgh where one of our investigators with a farm lives. Well, we decided to park our car and walk, and we totally got caught in the rain. Even with umbrellas we got soaking wet. Haha, all we could do was laugh. To make things better, someone called us claiming to be Satan. He wasn't very nice, and he is now labeled in our phone as "Do not answer." Haha, the life of a missionary. So unpredictable!

So, when it was sunny, we went to see Allen (the one with the farm) and I felt lots of his animals. Let's see....A goat, kitties, chickens, and I stood next to his fox, but I wouldn't hold it. I'll tell you a little more about Allen. He is really good friends with the Branch Mission Leader, and we met him back in May when he had dinner with us. He works a lot, so it's been tough to see him since, but this past week we saw him several times! Hopefully he can start to progress. We are actually going fishing at his place later on today!

Brother Jim Leavens....He is so awesome! We had a solid first lesson with him last week. It was one of those lessons when I felt myself get out of the way and just let the Spirit work with him. He has such a humble heart, he just has lots of questions. We've been taking things back to the basics and that seems to be helping him. We told him at the beginning of the lesson that we were going to invite him at the end to be baptized, and he said he would say no. Well, guess what folks? When we invited him at the end of the lesson, he said yes. No date yet, because he wants to finish the lessons first. As we were leaving, he told us that he really hopes we don't get transferred. Well, woohoo! Looks like we get to work with him at least a little longer, which I am so grateful for. When I first met Brother Leavens he wasn't very open to speaking too much, and now I feel like he's become one of my closest friends. I've been able to witness his heart change, and it has been incredible. 

We had a picnic with James this past Saturday night at the park, and it was super fun. We read from the Book of Mormon with him from the very beginning. I love reading 1 Nephi 1 - haha, think about how many times we have all read that chapter! But there is so much in there. We paused after every verse and talked about what stood out to us, and James loved it. He's doing well with passing the Sacrament and reading every day! Such a solid guy.

Our Branch President is one of 13 siblings....and most of them paid him a visit this weekend, so there were LOTS of people at church. We even had to change the way the chairs were facing so that everyone would be able to fit. There were nearly 100 people there, which is a big step up from the normal 40-50. No complaints though.

Yesterday Sister Puruganan and I were able to go see the Lindsay boys. The boys whose parents passed away. We got them a care basket and dropped it off. Only Shawn (17) and Shantelle (24) were home. I'm not going to lie, as we were walking up to their door my heart was racing so fast. Every time we would go there we could hear the dogs start barking, then Patsy would answer the door. I knew it was going to be different this time, and it was really hard. However, Shawn was so grateful to see us. I know he's been struggling a lot over the past month, as you can probably imagine. Losing both of your parents and having 3 younger brothers would probably put a toll on you. We expressed our love for their family and asked if there was anything we could do to help them. He then said, "You guys have done so much for my family already," and that's when the tears filled my eyes. He then gave us both a hug (not sure if that is allowed, but I wasn't about to tell him he couldn't hug us). As I was walking away I felt sooo much peace. So much closure. We will hopefully be going back on Tuesday to see the youngest 3 boys. Thank you so much for the prayers you have all extended on behalf of this family.

This past transfer has taught me a thing or two. Haha, it's actually taught me a lot. I am thankful for it. I've never struggled so much on my mission before. I think back to when I first got to Canada and how homesick I was for the first little bit in Ajax. Well, this past transfer was WAY harder than that. The heartbreak that has been felt has been more than I thought I could handle at times. I was writing in my journal last night just about my feelings and the experiences that I've had here in Napanee, and it dawned on me that everything has been worth it. I've learned what it means to utilize the Atonement. I've had my heart made more tender and my Spirit built up stronger. I wouldn't trade it for the world. 

Heavenly Father wants me in Napanee for at least 6 more weeks, and I am excited for the adventures that are in store. Thank you for the continued support and love. I love my mission with all my heart. I know that the remaining months that I have left will be sacred, and I hope they go by slowly.  :) Have an amazing week. 


Sister Hardcastle

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

I don't like cats, but you gotta admit this one is adorable! 
I'm holding a goat. Her name is Marble!
The Kingston Zone! Look how tall that Elder is! 
The one and only Sister Woolf!
Soaking wet!
Ahhh Hope. Our best friend in downtown Napanee!
Gotta love it. 
Coyote anyone?
A little toad.... 
I also held a chicken....
Brother and Sister Wales! Love them SO much!
Steve. Todd the Fox!
I love him!
Brother and Sister Leavens!
The Melhuish's - they feed us every Friday.  :)
Darrelle DeRush - Favorite less active! 
With James!
Do I need new shoes?
The one and only Mike Horner! 
The Horner Brothers!
Party at Cortwright's!
Love you all.  :)
14 months....AHHH

Monday, July 7, 2014

14 Months. Since when?

Dear Family and Friends, 

So yes, it's true. I've been on my mission for 14 months tomorrow! Crazy. Wouldn't trade this experience for the entire world. 

Transfers are next week, so don't send any mail until I tell you the results.

Canada Day and the 4th of the July were a success! On Canada Day we did a lot of service, which was neat because Sister Puruganan and I both had Canada shirts on. :) Cortwright had us over for lunch, and it was a swell day. We also had lunch with Cortwright on the 4th of July. I was the only American there, so they called me "Miss America." 

What happened this week....We finally started teaching Brother Jim Leavens! He is so prepared and so amazing. He's the husband of the RS President that comes to church every week. In fact, yesterday in Sacrament Meeting he bore his testimony of the church. I don't think there was a dry eye in the room. He looked right at Sister Puruganan and I as he expressed how he is getting a 'refresher' on the lessons. It is so humbling to be teaching him. He even told Sister Puruganan and I that he prefers Senior Couple Missionaries because he gets along better with them, but he's fine with us. :) Seriously, he's one of the coolest people I've ever taught in my life. He told everyone in his testimony that he woke up one night with the thought "Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon are true." He then went on to say it was a nightmare, and everyone started laughing. Then it was followed up with him expressing that it was a good nightmare. :) We are planning on setting him for a date to be baptized later on in July. Keep Jim in your prayers!

So I met President and Sister Clayton! They are incredible people and so very nice! We met with them on Friday for several hours. They told us a lot about their lives, and then we were able to meet with President Clayton. President Clayton was set apart by Russel M. Nelson. Sweet eh! "Heavenly Father will continue to guide this mission." -President Clayton. Yes He will.

So I'm pretty sure Sister Puruganan and I have a friend staying with us in our apartment. Weird things have been happening, but we decided to name her Phoebe. As a result of that, we had a slumber party in our living room on Saturday night. We pulled our mattresses out of our room, and it was actually really fun! Sister Puruganan only wanted to do it for one night though, so everything is back to normal now.

We had a picnic with one of the members! It was on Thursday, so the day we aren't supposed to drive our car. So she came to pick us up, and she called us when she got there and told us she didn't have drinks, so we needed to bring our own. Well, the first thing I could find was a measuring cup and a Christmas cup - so that's what we used. It was so hilarious. Such a good day!

One of the less-actives we are working with, Darrelle Derush, had us over on Friday night. We taught her the Plan of Salvation while we made salads. It was really fun, but quite an interesting lesson. She expressed how she doesn't want to go to the celestial kingdom because her family won't be there. Her husband and son are both non-members. They've had really bad experiences with the church in the past, so we haven't been able to meet with them. Darrelle is so awesome though, she keeps me laughing non-stop. She's one of those people that I know I'll stay in contact with. 

James passed the Sacrament for the first time yesterday! Talk about another tear-jerker! He came in dress pants and a white shirt and tie. Ahh I can't handle this much happiness!

I was reading Alma 17 this week - 

And now it came to pass that as Alma was journeying from the land of Gideon southward, away to the land of Manti, behold to his astonishment, he met with the sons of Mosiah journeying towards the land of Zarahemla. 

Now these sons of Mosiah were with Alma at the time the angel first appeared unto him; therefore Alma did rejoice exceedingly to see his brethren; and what added more to his joy, they were still his brethren in the Lord; yea, and they had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth; for they were men of a sound understanding and they had searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God. 

But this is not all; they had given themselves to much prayer, and fasting; therefore they had the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and when they taught, they taught with power and authority of God.

And they had been teaching the word of God for the space of fourteen years among the Lamanites, having had much success in bringing many to the knowledge of the truth; yea, by the power of their words many were brought before the altar of God, to call on his name and confess their sins before him. 

Now these are the circumstances which attended them in their journeying, for they had many afflictions; they did suffer much, both in body and in mind, such as hunger, thirst and fatigue, and also much labor in the spirit. 

And it came to pass that they journeyed many days in the wilderness, and they fasted much and prayed much that the Lord would grant unto them a portion of his Spirit to go with them, and abide with them, that they might be an instrument in the hands of God to bring, if it were possible, their brethren, the Lamanites, to the knowledge of the truth, to the knowledge of the baseness of the traditions of their fathers, which were not correct. 

And it came to pass that the Lord did visit them with his Spirit, and said unto them: Be comforted. And they were comforted.

And the Lord said unto them also, Go forth among the Lamanites, the brethren, and establish my word; yet ye shall be patient in long-suffering and afflictions, that ye may show forth good examples unto them in me, and I will make an instrument of thee in my hands unto the salvation of many souls.

And it came to pass that the hearts of the sons of Mosiah, and also those who were with them, took courage to go forth unto the Lamanites to declare unto them the word of God.

I love these scriptures so much. I see the hand of the Lord every single day here in Napanee, and it's so humbling. The experiences that I've had here have changed my perspective in life, and I am so grateful. If I happen to leave next week, then so be it. "I'll go where you want me to go, Dear Lord." I love you all. I love my Savior.


Sister Corinne Hardcastle

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

My caterpillar :)
Canada Day lunch with Cortwright!
Our cute hats :) 
Meet Marble!
We had a my cup?!
Sister Puruganan and me
Canadian and American at heart <3
Happy Independence Day! 
Squished in the back of a car....