Monday, August 31, 2015

Bienvenido a la tierra de malgas cortas

That should say,  welcome to the land of short sleeves.   If no, oopsie =)  But the short sleeves are officially out! I think the last time I wore short sleeves was like my second day here, because it has been friiiiiiigid and rainy. but last week it started heating up and to be honest it's gotten pretty dang toasty here already so we'll see how the summer heat actually is! 

Sorry for no typing last week! La Zona Austral took a lil' day excursion to Capital to play some soccer. Have I mentioned how I am really, bad at soccer? Well I am. BUT My zone says I improved from last time so maybe by the time I leave I'll become pretty dang good. I can hope at least=)

I had my first baptism! well kinda. Elder Carrasco started teaching "E" before I got here, but I sat in on the majority of the lessons. She is so sweet, and she's gotten into the member missionary mode quite well, giving us a few references. 

Last week I went on exchanges with Elder Hansen in Del Viso, who is from Utah! It was really nice to speak English with someone, even if we are supposed to speak the mission language siempre. My language has gotten lots better, I think. I lack language study a lot but I am starting to understand a lot more of what people are saying. Replying is still difficult, but I think I am starting to understand more of the flow of the language. now I need to figure out what I need to say and then translate that into Castellano basically immediately. Nothing too hard right? Speaking of which, Almost NO ONE can say my name here. Kinda funny, kinda of exasperating at the same time. I really want to ask President Ayre if I can get a plaque that says ELDER CASTILLO DURO instead, but we'll see. My guess is no. 

When I was on exchanges, Elder Hansen was a peach and made was pancakes for breakfast. I got really tired of eating scrambled eggs and bread for breakfast, so after we returned I bought flour and sugar, and all I can say is YOU BETTER BELIEVE I AM MAKING PANCAKES. Because I am. Pancakes con dulce de leche o mermelada de ciruela son TAN RICO, Yo les prometo. I love cooking. We don't have dinner time here, so my dinner is usually around 9:30 - 10:30, which doesn't leave much time for anything else, but it gives me some me time and I like food so not much complaining from this side of the equator=) I like to mix rice with tomatoes or make an oatmeal and yogrt combination. Yesterday I was feeling extra exotic so I made a banana crumble. once again, YOU BETTER BELIEVE I CAN MAKE A CRUMBLE and then add banana to it. I'll admit, it got a little burned but hey, nobody is perfect. 

Now on to some real missionary stuff. This has been an incredible week. We are teaching this couple (Familia Aguirre), and they are amazing. We were teaching them and another couple that was over during one of our lessons. The hombre didn't seem all 'elegido,' he didn't really believe and God and looked a little disinterested. That all changed. It's so cool to be able to witness the change that is coming over people. These people has a desire to change their lives and the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the perfect pathway. 
This week really has been great. I realized that I am SOOO blessed to have such a rockin' family and parents that raised me in the gospel. They are such great examples to me. So if you all need some good examples, we have some guest bedrooms opened up now since all their little birds have left the nest=) Hardcastle B&B is officially opened I guess!

Chau for now mis amigos. See you all soon enough=)

Pics- Soccer and baptisms and pizza, oh my!

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Party's Just Begun & I don't have rabies

(Aug. 10, 2015)

hmmm where to start.
First off: Greeting everyone! Thanks you all for the lovely emails and
such! You all are so peachy and kind. And thanks for all the prayers
you guys send to the missionaries. I'm seeing more and more how much
we need them!
Now for the thrills of the week.There were many. You hear all these
stories about crazy things happening on mission, and I feel like
probablamente 90% happened this week, but that is just life. let's
hope they keep coming though or my mission will get pretty mundane for
the next 22ish months. So let's get going. In no particular order...

So I got bit by a dog Saturday! My compañero is the District leader,
so we had to go and do a baptismal interview in Derqui in the morning.
All was grand. The interview was wrapped up and we were headed for the
bus stop (we ride many a bus down here in Pilar) when we past this
house. It was gated and there was a feisty pooch on the other side.
This thing stuck it's head though the gate and BIT MY ARM. Crazy. Like
I was not even expecting it. BUT I was very chill about it and just
kept walking, because that's something we do a lot down here. it's not
a very big bite (actually it's kinda lame and didn't even bleed much)
but when you get bit you have to call the Mission President's wife, so
while we were on the bus I got to call Hermana Ayres, and we had a
lovely conversation (IN ENGLISH). She has some sass to her so
naturally our conversation was quite enjoyable. The concern was if I
was going to get rabies or not, so next week when we go down to Derqui
for another interview we have to check and see if the dog is still
alive and if it is, I'm fine. If it's dead, I have to go through some
cheerful sets of rabies shots. Yumm.
I don't think I added this last week, but there are dogs EVERYWHERE.
some cats, but we're not supposed to play with the animals:( ) But
these dogs are mangy things. And most of them are even living! I've
seen about 7 dead ones so far... I think. Sometimes it's hard to tell
if the dog is dead or just sleeping, and then sometimes you see the
same dead dog more than once and you get confused.
We have been having some crazy rainstorm here. We work a lot in this
place called Villa Rosa and lots of the roads there are dirt (and
trash), and some of them have had some flooding when the rain comes,
so we have to be careful where we step. I've only fallen twice so far
but my ninja skills have come in handy here and so I've caught myself
before the damage has gotten too bad. Like I said, thrilling!
Also (we think) because of this rain, the sewage lines have been
filled and our toilet was having issues. I'll leave it at that.
You guys probably wanna know about some of mine and Elder Carrasco's
investigators, don't you? well, right now we have two progressing
investigators, but today I'll tell you about Jonathon. Jonathon is 19
and pretty cool. We found him Wednesday (I think...) and he has been
progressing really well. I tried inviting him to be baptized, but he
didn't understand my Castellano, and I had to do it again. and again.
And then Elder Carrasco asked him and HE SAID YES! He went with us to
church on Sunday, and we meet with him again today.
Side note. Elections are going on here, and because of them we only
had Sacrament meeting. And I led the music! Fun fun fun.
More happened, (LOTS), but here are just some highlights of the week.
I love you guys! See you all soon enough:)

Elder Hardcastle

And now for this weeks letter....(Aug. 17, 2015)

I thought I's start off my letter with some good news, because I know you all were very concerned with the welfare of my health. We saw the dog. It was alive. You may now rejoice.
Hmph, It has been a busy week. District Conference, Zone Conference, New Missionary Conference, and another baptismal interview trip make Elder Hardcastle a busy missionary. And one that doesn't have much language study time! haha but seriously, all these events were scheduled during my study time. But we learn patience on the mission, so patience here I come!
Just some fun new problems with our apartment from this week:  A few days ago all the electric outlets in our home stopped working this week, which is all fun and games until you realize the fridge has become the wicked witch of the west and is melting away (NO ONE MOURNS THE WICKED). Luckily we don't have much in our fridge and freezer, but we had to put some foods to good use real quick or throw them out. On Saturday we ended up returning to the apartment an hour early because Elder Carrasco was really really sick and so I took that opportunity to be a charitable (and hungry) companion and make dinner. I put together a mean spaghetti with some noodles I had and used some hamburger patties we received in a vianda (sack lunch we receive from members on days we can't eat at their house) and some frozen peas I had because they both needed to be eaten before our freezer completely died, and some canned tomatoes we had in our emergency food supply (it was a culinary emergency and I had a sick companion. I feel so shame) and really, it was some mighty fine cooking and deserved a selfie (see below). We officially had out outlets fixed today, so now we are back in business.
We started teaching a couple this week that is sooo great. They have a convert daughter who just recently got baptized, so we have been going and giving her the recent convert lessons (It's the same as any other lesson but she's now a member so has some more experience), and one day her parents were there and Elder Carrasco asked if they wanted to learn and all that good stuff and they took some Books of Mormon and they believe it! The father hasn't received an answer yet but the mother has, but they are both taking in the gospel and it's such and neat experience when we teach them; it's my favorite lesson those days. They went to sacrament meeting yesterday and really liked it, so I have high hopes for them! During our first lesson I shared Alma 32:27-28 and the mother really liked it I think. It must be hard to leave your current method of belief and have the faith to drop it for something new. But with time and nourishment, that new seed of faith will grow and grow and grow until it is strong testimony.
Yesterday I got a smidgeon trunky. Wanna know over what? Taking out the trash. We were in our apartment yesterday and I have been thinking that we really needed to take the trash out, and then I started think about taking the trash out at home, and I had this moment of thinking of really nice Sunday afternoons at home... yep, all over trash. Crazy right? Right. 
Also, in Argentina they have this gelatin stuff called Dulce de (insert name of fruit or whatever), and yesterday at a member's house we had Dulce de Batata with mozarella cheese, which was actually a really great combo, a slice of cheese and a slice of fruity stuff. Here's the problem: I don't know what a batata is. I here it is like a potato, but if someone out there could send me a pick of one I'd really like it. Thanks a ton=)
Well, that's all for now folks! Talk to you again again next week. And have fun at school all y'all that will be starting that up again in the next week or so.
See you all soon enough!

Elder Hardcastle

The dog days have just begun

 Me feat. Spaghetti.

Monday, August 3, 2015

...did you miss me?

¡Hola mis amigos!

Well, I made it to Argentina! But first, some background to my last days at the MTC:
Leaving the MTC was rough. That place was so good to me! I recommend going there. But in all seriousness, I loved it, it is a dedicated place and you recognize that AFTER you leave. The world is a bit of a scary place!

Last Monday was travel day. The missionaries leaving for Argentina all left at 8:30 ish in the morning, so no complaints there. I got to call my parents and sister while in SLC, and it was so nice to here from them! I just wish I could go boating with them! Familes are great. Especially mine=)

We had a layover in Atlanta, and I had this really cool experience. We were in the food court, and this older black woman (not to be racist, but you have to understand her in order to get the full feeling of the story) comes up to me and Elder Holtry and is like ''Are you from the ministry?'' I say we are from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and that we were leaving for our missions. She asked us where we were going and we said Argentina, and she said ''That's what you all should be doing, going and spending some time for the Lord'' (loose quoting) BUT IT WAS SO NEAT! It's great that people of different faiths see us missionaries as ambassadors of the Lord. I love it! 

Then we had the 11ish hour airplane ride. Yum. haha Actually, it wasn't too bad. 
One thing I did enjoy on my flights was reading from Nehemiah in the Bible. Have you read it recently? If not, do it. He is a stud. A great example of diligence in our work. 

AND THEN I MADE IT TO ARGENTINA! President and Sister Ayres met us in the airport, and after took us to some sights in BA. They are a classy duo. Then we went to the mission home and ate empanadas. YUM FOR REALS. After we had some training and an interview with President Ayres. Our mission is not a finding mission; most of our work is done through and with members, which is cool. We search for the 'Eligidos' (Elect) and have specific filters (couples must be married, WoW, etc) on who we teach and have a three week plan to prepare them for baptism. 

And THEN we went to the church and got our new Compañeros and our area assignments. Mi nuevo compañero es Elder Carrasco de Chile. He is awesome! seriously. We get along pretty well, and only have lapses in communication every so often, but he does know quite a bit of English so all is good. I am currently serving in the city of Pilar. Its been kind of tough, I won't lie, but almost solely the language barrier. Every one talks SO FAST but I can usually understand what is being said, I just have a hard time if there are background noises or if they are talking too fast . Elder Carrasco thinks I'm going to be made a leader in the mission soon haha. TEACH FROM THE HEART AND KNOW YOUR STUFF. That really is the key. I'm so glad to be here! It looks like a fun 22 months!

Chau for now and see you all soon enough!
Elder Hardcastle

Last Pic in the USA

ARG-BAN newbies!

With President & Sister Ayres