Tuesday, June 6, 2017

See You All Soon Enough

Good afternoon from Good Aires (haha I changed it up a bit this time)!

So our miracle investigator got baptized yesterday! So that was the big news of the week! I am so happy to be working in El Talar and to see miracles as we work with the ward in the work of the Lord!

This week was super tranquila because my companion developed some back problems and hasn't been able to move very much. We were able to work maybe a few hours every day, but we spent the majority of the time in the apartment. But I was able to get a lot of things done like sewing to repair my pants, organizing and updating the area book, a few power naps, studying Spanish and calling (and recalling) lots and lots of old investigators. We can't slack off so close to the end! 

Buuuut, I guess that moment is getting pretty close. This will be my last letter as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints here in Argentina. It feels weird to write this, and it doesn't quite seem real yet. Has it really been two years?!

Just so you know, I love Argentina and treasure the moments I spent here. It's quite different from Cache Valley, but still pretty darn great. And there are some STRONG members of the church here, I really admire their dedication and efforts to live the Gospel. 

I can honestly say this is not how I thought the mission was going to be. Before heading out and in the beginning of my mission, I thought that being a missionary would be hard, but easy in its purpose: I would leave the apartment right on time every day talking to everyone. I would be so motivated and obedient and have my mind on the prize the whole time, and my companion as well. Oh, also I would learn to speak Spanish really quick. I would have lots of success for my righteous desires. 

Reality hit me pretty early on. Needless to say, I didn't experience the mission I thought I would. But maybe, maybe I experienced one just a little bit better. 

Through the heat, the walking, the rejection, the exhaustion, and the problems with Spanish, people, and many other things, I was faced with a fair share of difficulties and tripped up a few times. I was not the perfect missionary I thought I would be. But whom the Lord loves, he disciplines, and through the trials and the failures and the difficult moments, I learned some priceless lessons.

My testimony and conversion has grown and now reaches new dimensions. I remember leaving my home well aware that I did not know the answers to all of my soul's questions, but with great desires of obtaining a conviction of eternal truths I had been taught all my life. The lord truly qualifies who He calls, and through this marvelous experience, I have come to love my Savior, Jesus Christ. I treasure the words John V. Pearson wrote in the hymn 'I Testify of Jesus Christ':

I have not touched His wounded hands
Nor yet beheld His holy face
But I have felt His love for me
And heard His gentle voice.

I have learned the He truly is real. He knows us, and loves us, and knows what we need. He gave us His gospel so that we could become better. I know that grace is real, and that it is available to all those who chose to follow Jesus Christ. The scriptures are the instructions to a blessed and prosperous life and eternity. We are not perfect, not even close, but we can become perfected through Him as we follow His example. He tries our patience and our faith, but it is so we can be transformed into new creatures and reach altitudes otherwise impossible.

Thank you for your prayers and for your letters and for motivating me to be better! I am so blessed to have such an awesome crew backing me up. I love you all! 

See you all soon enough,

Elder Hardcastle=)


Miracle Maxi and our ward mission leader and us

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

¡Falsos Profetas!

Howdy y'all!

So this week consisted of lots of work. Pretty much everything fell through, buuuuut the good thing is that we had another lesson with the referral we received last week! We taught her the Plan of Salvation and she told us that it really helped her know where her husband is and we talked a lot about how she needs to be strong to not only work towards her salvation, but also how she needs to help her husband now with his! So that was nice. 

Also yesterday we met with our miracle investigator. Since he works every day except for Sundays, we had to cram in everything he hadn't learned yet during the lesson. But it's cool because he just accepted everything! BUT PRAY FOR HIM GUYS. Please. Everything is going so well with him, I know the dark side is going to try and play some sort of trick. 

This week we had interviews with Presidente and Hermana Smith and our zone leaders. Remember how I was working on contacting more? Yeah well it's good that I was practicing because they told us that the mission needs to be doing more than double the contacts that we were doing! That was Friday and then all our appointments fell through Saturday, so we had lots of time to reach the new goal, and we did it! So yeah.

AND THEN yesterday we got a call from the elders in Los Polvorines (one of my old areas) and they had a referral for us, who had a baptismal date for the 11 of June! So that's another piece of good news! The blessings really come rolling in at the end of the mission!

Here and some of the fun things that have happened this week while we were contacting:

We met a man that said God was an extraterrestrial.

An older lady told us that she was the god over everything. 

I totally caught another old lady LYING to us when she gave us her direction. But I didn't want to drop the cane on her so I was so ''okay thanks bye''. She seemed so nice though...

A crazy man came up to us as we were talking to a friend of ours who sells popcorn and told us that we were false prophets (falsos profetas). We had run into him before so I knew it was just a lost cause, so after a brief moment of putting up with his whole deal I was like ''yeah, no'', and just walked away. Ain't nobody got time for that. 

But yeah! that was it for the week! And then today we went to a shopping mall that was SUPER CHETO called Nordelta. But I didn't find H&M so I'm really starting to doubt that it I'll even find it here in Buenos Aires... BUT I DID FIND PEPPERIDGE FARMS PRODUCTS. So I let my companion try a little bit of heaven.

See you all soon enough!

Élder Hardcastle=)

Thursday, May 25, 2017


G'day mates.

So this week was pretty amazing. Usually there are like two or three good highlights of the week, but this week there were so many, so I am pretty contento right now. 

So our mission is still trying to focus on sharing 30 Books of Mormon with return visits every week. This challenge is pretty rough for me because it's not like you can just talk with five people and hand out five Libros de Mormón, it varies on the day, the weather, and the area. And if I focus on all the Books I still have to give out and how many people don't want them, Élder Hardcastle can get just a tad exhausted. But I came up with a different idea: instead of focusing on all the books I was needing to hand out, I was going to focus on just opening my mouth more. So, I began by setting myself a personal goal for contacts, hoping to reach the goal of Books of Mormon. Well Tuesday I reached my goal well before lunch, and thought, ''Well, this isn't so bad, I can keep going!'' Up to this point I hadn't given out any books, but as I went for 'bonus contacts', we started finding good people! And shortly after we were able to give away three! Just a small change in my perspective was able to help me work a lot more positively!

Later that afternoon we went to the hospital and waited again. We thought they were going to cut into my companion's hand to take out whatever was bothering it, but they didn't. We had to make another appointment for the following week to take it out. Then we took the train to get to the district meeting right after it ended (thanks to all my extracurricular trips in the mission my knowledge of the Buenos Aires' public transportation is quite extensive), then the bus we took to go back to El Talar popped a tire, so we made it right in time to start preparing for our ward activity. I was sitting at the piano playing prelude (more piano stories later) when my companion comes running up to me and tells me to look at his hand. He had begun to play with the infected part and applied some pressure, and this little tiny piece of organic something a few centimeters long shot out of his hand. It was kind of a gross strange miracle, but hey! One less trip to the hospital this week, and more time to work!

And then on Thursday I celebrated 23 months as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and we were blessed with another miracle. So a few days before, my companion contacted a lady selling cactus and though she was nice she wasn't interested, but we were able to obtain a referral from her of a lady whose husband died a few months ago. We went and contacted the house but she wasn't available. THEN on Thursday we saw the same lady selling cactus and she asked if we were going to go talk to her referral. It wasn't in our plans, but I said we would so a bit later we tried again and were met by a man. We explained to him who we were and a bit of why we were there, and he said that the referral was home, but she didn't want to receive any visits because she wasn't doing so good. But then a few moments later she had a change of heart and let us in. We had a really great talk with her! Her husband died right before Christmas and she thought with time her wounded heart would heal, but it had only been getting worse and she was in a bad place. We asked her what she was doing to get closer to Christ and she said she wasn't doing anything. So we shared the Book of Mormon with her and after a bit she started doing better! She accepted the Book of Mormon and said she would keep reading it and that she would pray and go to Church on Sunday! She told us after that God had sent us because she was doing really bad. I love being used as an instrument in God's hands. Especially since we never would have found her by just contacting because she lives right next to an evangelist church! 

AND THEN CAME SUNDAY. It was probably one of the best days of my whole mission. The only really bad part was that I had to play piano in Sacrament meeting and I really slaughtered Jesus Once of Humble Birth. I'm definitely a two-talent piano player and not a five-talent one. But other than that, it was glorious! Do you remember the man that went to Church last week,? Yeah, well he went to Church again yesterday, so that was a great start. Then I didn't have to teach Gospel Principles because last week the ward sustained an actual teacher to teach it. Then the bishop drove us home from church (we live only a few blocks away but still). Then our vianda had a 600g bag of cookies and we ate them all that day, and we were able to take a 10 minute siesta. Then later on we went over to the house of the miracle referral we received because she didn't go to church. I was starting to doubt her level of interest   because our visit the day before had fallen through, but wow, all that changed when we saw her. She was doing so much better! She told us that our first visit had really changed her attitude, and she was so grateful. She is functioning again! I think she didn't go to church because her family came over to visit, and she hadn't been able to talk to us on Saturday because she had to do some trámites (I still don't know what that word is in English sorry). But she told us that she had read the Book of Mormon, and accepted another visit. MILAGRO. And then she went to mom-mode and asked if we were going to stay outside in the cold without coats on, haha. But yeah, I feel really confident that she will really accept the Gospel and see it work in her life. 

AND THEN we had a lesson with the investigator that went to church twice but with whom we never could schedule a visit. We taught the Restoration with our ward mission leader, and it was great. He accepted everything! and then he accepted a baptismal date for June 3rd. Then we taught him the 10 commandments with the Word of Wisdom and the Law of Chastity because by the way things look we may only be able to teach him maybe once or twice a week. Once again, He accepted everything without a problem. I am SO happy=)

It looks like hard work is paying off! I love being able to serve as a missionary! It is the hardest thing I have ever done, but I have come to know that God is truly good. I have never been so certain of His love for me. Just do what He asks you to do, I promise that you won't regret it. 

See you all soon enough,

Elder Hardcastle=)

 I found a cheap place to buy food. Así que, aproveché.

My companion never ate tacos before, So I decided to treat him.
''Wow that looks Instagram worthy'' -Elder Jensen

 Close-up beauty shot

Monday, May 15, 2017

It's not Mother's day here.

Hola friends!

First off, HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to all you mothers out there. Mother's day doesn't come to Argentina until October, but we can pretend, right?

So this week was pretty pleasant. We spent Tuesday 'relaxing' in the hospital. We got there really early hoping everything would be running punctual, but it was all quite the opposite. And so we waited and waited and then finally got in but the doctor then sent us to a different one. Then we went to wait for the different doctor (a plastic surgeon to be precise) to get in and for our number to show up on the screen. And when we got in, the doctor started gouging into his hand with tweezers. He got something out, but it seems as though there's still more in there, soooo we'll have to go in again tomorrow!

Then on Wednesday we had Zone Conference in San Fernando! We talked about how we need to talk to more people and the best and most direct way to do it. The conference was complete with real-life practices, in the street. And my companion was Presidente Smith! So that was pretty special. We were only outside for like thirty minutes but it was pretty intense. We found some pretty cool people though so we passed on the referrals to their respective areas.

Then came Thursday. Shortly after leaving the apartment that morning we got a call from our district leader, telling us that he had just gotten off the phone with Presidente Smith, who had promised morning for the zone if we talked with as many people as we could. So we were like, ''well, okay!''. We decided to go and start contacting in the more commercial part of our area, and we just started talking! And we shared six Books of Mormon! We had to actually finish early and go back to the apartment and get more Books of Mormon because we used all the ones that we were carrying! 

And then Sunday was full of MILAGROS. It started by having a possible investigator going to Church with us. He was a contact that we did a few weeks ago, but was always really busy with work and so we never could go by to teach him. But our ward mission leader (seriously Hno Soria is the best one I've ever had) told us to try and talk to him again and we did and he came to church and it was a really good experience. If he is able to change his work schedule, he is going to get baptized. AND THEN we ate lunch with the Arce family, which is the best and made me ñoquis because they know that I love them, and then I got to talked to my mom and company. AND THEN later that day we were walking after an appointment just fell through with Hno Soria when I saw a man seated by the side walk, and I received the impression to talk to him. We went over to talk to him and he is really cool. He is around my age and is going through some tough things in his life right now and wants to get on the right track. And while he was talking to us, both my companion and I felt impressed to invite him to be baptized, and he accepted! So that was awesome. Let's just hope all goes well from here! 

Well folks, That's about it for this week. My companion and I are getting along really well, and we are working so that we can see more progress in our area. I don't feel like it's really getting near the end! There is still so much to do! I'll try to keep one keeping on, don't worry.

See you all soon enough!

Elder Hardcastle

las fotos---
1 My fútbol injury from a few weeks ago, featuring my joggers and my alpargatas (you don't knoow what you are missing family)

2 La capilla de El Talar

Monday, May 8, 2017

Diem Carped

Hello gang! ¿Cómo están?

The rain in Argentina falls mainly on Sunday. But we'll get to that later.

So we had an interesting week here in El Talar! Elder Albanese and I are adjusting very well to the change!  He is really great and obedient and diligent, so we are getting along quite well. The only problem is that in his first area he fell and got some sort of organic matter wedged into his hand, but couldn't get it out because he wasn't on the Church health plan yet. Well, now in his third transfer, he has a small lump on his hand and when we went to the emergency room to get it looked at, the doctor told us that he would need surgery... so now the mission nurse is going to talk with the area doctor to figure things out. He is my sixth companion that I've taken to the doctor (not counting the other two visits I did during exchanges with other elders), so I'm pretty much an expert and have visited all the major hospitals in Buenos Aires. They say the mission prepares you for life but I really hope this doesn't mean lots of visits to the doctor in my future

So we are destroying this place. I am looking to go outwith a bang so we started contacting with a bang and have been really working on talking to and finding more people. Wednesday morning we left the apartment at 10 and seriously by the time we returned around one o'clock in the afternoon, we were whooped. Good thing I am taking vitamins to keep this body going! haha but while we were out knocking on doors, I saw a man in a tree cutting down the branches on the other side of the house. I felt the need to contact him, but I  was like 'uhh that is really awkward. no.' and I went over to contact the other house. Buuut the feeling did go away so I let the Spirit win and got out on the pass along cards and yelled, ''Sorry to bug you but we want to leave this with you''. And he got down from the tree to talk to us! It turns out he talked with the missionaries ages ago! So there you go. 

This week we did a lot of contacts but mainly we just prepared the people to accept the Gospel in the future. We were taught once that it usually takes someone seven encounters with the Church before they accept the Gospel. So we might as well work hard now so others can reap the results later, haha. And this Sunday I was a bit disappointed for the lack of results we were seeing, so I said a prayer and got back to contacting in the rain. Lo and behold, the second person I contacted accepted a Book of Mormon and a visit! I think a motto/motivational phrase I could probably put on my mission would be ''Maybe this one.''. That lead me to chase down a family the other day but in the end I think they thought I was going to rob them, but it's all good=) Sometimes it's disappointing to not see the success you want, but it isn't our work; it's the Lords, and He will bless us according to His own will and pleasure. If we do our work and never lose hope, we can at least have the satisfaction that we did our part, and the blessing is on the way.

That's about it for now. Oh and also last week I deep fried Oreos. Thanks for the idea, Elder Steele!

See you all soon enough,

Elder Hardcastle=)

No photos of the deep fried Oreos because I can't get the computer to work=( otro daí quizás

Also, The subject line comes from a t-shirt I saw this week that made me laugh. That is all.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

El comienzo del final

Buenas tardes del Buenos Aires!

Sooo. Let's cut to the good stuff first. Today they gave us our transfers. My very last... qué raro... but yeah. You ready?

I'm staying in El Talar! And my new compañero is Elder Albanese, from Uruguay! Don't ask me anything about him yet, I didn't even know he existed until today. I think he is just fresh out of his training, and I hope he is ready to work hard and be obedient here because this Elder Hardcastle is an old feller now and has no time to youthful shenanigans. haha but I'll tell you more about him next week!

So not too much to report from these last few weeks... The weather has been crazy, which I guess I should be used to by now. I had to break out my heavy coat with scarf and everything because we have freezing rain! The good thing was that the Relief Society president called us during our exercises to tell us to be prepared, so that was really kind of her. But now it is super hot and sunny. 

We have been on the hunt for new investigators and our search has been a bit unfruitful. I can't control how many people want to accept the message that will change their life, but I can at least give them the opportunity to learn it! This last week Presidente Smith asked all of us to start working more between 10am and our lunch appointments. I actually quite like working in the morning and doing our studies in the afternoon (we were pretty much already doing it) and one of the tender mercies is that it's the time of day when all the cats come out to play=) I love it. 

So this is my last transfer. It's weird to think about reaching the end of this marvelous adventure, so I'm going to try to not think about it too much and just work whatever I can. 

See you all soon enough! And read your scriptures!


Elder Hardacstle =)

Monday, April 17, 2017


Hello people.

This weeks was a pretty fun week. Tuesday we had a ward activity presented by the missionary department; brain-child of the hermanas that we share the ward with. It was a trip through the life of Jesus, but solely through listening and touch. Things were passed around while I read a condensed version of the life of Christ found in the scriptures (for example, a baby doll for His birth, a backpack of hymn books for the atonement, and fabric for the folded linen in an empty tomb, etc.). It was really cool and the members that came really enjoyed it! 

Also, this week I got to explore more of the zone because we went to Benavidez for divisiones (exchanges). Elder Cortaza’s great and a really humble leader. We went and talked with a less active lady who wants to return to the Gospel after living many years practicing a different religion. She was with a friend who was a bit elderly but quite entertaining, even though she wasn't too interested in our message. As we were finishing up the visit I gave her one of our Easter pass-along cards which has the face of our Savior on it. Upon receiving it and observing it for a moment, she let out a joyous ''¡EPA!'', which is the Argentine equivalent of Uncle Karl's ''Yeah, buddy!''.  Jesus makes us happy, what can I say? =)

Also, the highlight was that President Nelson from the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles came and talked to us today. We had to wake up a bit early, but it was worth it. One of the things I love about being in this mission is that we cover the headquarters of the South America south area, so we have neat opportunities to meet some of the leaders in the Church. President Nelson wanted to shake all of our hands and so that makes two apostles of the Lord that I've shaken hands with! Haha and when I went up to shake his hand he and his wife read my nametag and Sister Nelson told me, ''Great last name!'' yep. I like it too =) It was a really neat devotional; all the area presidency (Elder Texeira, Elder Packer, and Elder Bragg) and their wives spoke to us and the Bs As west mission. Sister Nelson gave a really good talk about how the mission will prepare us for life, because it if full of great moment and less- great moments. My favorite quote from her was, ''The adversary is just so boring. He's so predictable!'' haha. And President Nelson talk a lot about our lineage being from the house of Israel and how we were foreordained to be missionaries and to bring the world his truth. And then after, since it was like the first time in a year since all the mission has been all together, we took some time to take pictures. Just some good fun for a missionary =)

That's about it for now! I hope you all have a great week! Read your scriptures! See you all soon enough!

Atentamente, Elder Hardcastle =)

A few more things that I forgot!
One of my favorite experiences from this week was Saturday morning. We went to go and contact and visit old investigators in the street France. While there I felt inspired to go talk to a couple who was selling chocolate Easter eggs. It turns out that the husband is an old investigator from about seven or eight years ago! and they want to learn more. And he makes a great chocolate egg =)

Also we taught a great family Saturday afternoon. It's a mother and her son (she's separated) and she is VERY evangelica, but we were able to have a very spiritual lesson with her, and is going to read the Book of Mormon. I'm really excited to work with her and her 19 year old son, they are very religious and are willing to change if they feel like this is the true path! I love things like this.

Okay that's it. Bye.