Monday, December 28, 2015

It's all good here.

¡Buenos días y felices fiestas a ustedes! ¿Cómo estan?

Well, things have happened here, as I am sure things have happened. I'll write about some of my favorite occurrences of the last little bit, I forgot to bring my journal so I'll try to write them as well as I can=)

Firstly, like a week or so ago I completed six months in the mission! Yay!! Wow, I am going to sound cliche and all but it has gone by really fast. It's so satisfying to see the growth I have made in such a short amount of time, and I am eager to keep up the work. For you frequent readers, you will know that Élder Holtry and I arrived at the same time and were MTC buddies, so naturally he completed 6 months as well, and to celebrate we each burned a tie (don't get offended please Shelbie but I burned the tie from prom... it was just getting so dirty so easily). 

We finished up all of our Christmas concerts and now I am actually kind of sad to be done! It took up a lot of time, but I like to think that it could have helped some people feel the spirit and strengthen their journey to conversion as our choir shared our talents and layed down powerful testimony of our beliefs. I think it is on the Bueunos Aires North Facebook page if you want to hear some of the songs and also on YouTube, just search Buenos Aires Norte coro de navidad or something like that and I'm sure you'll find it. We gave our last concert during our mission Christmas activity and I finally got to sing my solo in Santa la noche (O Holy Night), so I was especially pleased. I also help out in another special musical number at the activity and we sang this song called ''He's Born'' I think Vocal Point has done it as well. I JUST LOVE MUSIC AND SINGING, GUYS. It's some of the things I miss the most here. I mean I do it anyways, but it's just not the same. And now that the choir is over it's back to everyday normal life in the mission field.

Christmas Eve we had our mission Christmas activity, which was great. It's so fun to see old friends that I have made and to talk with them again. We got to watch the Christmas Devotional (and choir stuff by us in between the talks) and ate hamburgers (Dad yours are still numero uno), and after lunch we did a white elephant in which I won Pringles and a back massager which is affectionately called Bug (pronounced Boog), and then we got to talk with Presiente Ayres and Hermana Ayres and receive our 'facebook', which is a pamphlet of all the missionaries currently serving in Bs As Norte and their names. My good friend Élder Parraguez brought his selfie stick and we were taking lots of pictures during the whole day, and I even snagged one with the Ayres=) 

Christmas day was  special to be sure. It was our Pday and it started off with my studies. During personal study I turned on some EFY 2014 songs to give me some nice background noise, and I as I pressed play to one of the songs and it began to play I was hit with some pretty dang strong nostalgia. I played this album almost every time I went to the temple this last year at home. I got thinking about how I was back then and all the things that were on in my life and my worries, and then about the change that I have seen in myself here in the mission (newsflash, you change a lot in the mission), and I was overcome with such a peace and a gratitude for this Gospel and it's influence in my life. I can't write down all the blessings I have received from this understanding and this belief that there is truly more to this life than existing. So, so much more. And then some other elders came over and we played Uno and chilled until the afternoon when I got to talk with my family (even Holden in Japan a little bit!), and it was just a good day. Good good goood.

That's some of the highlights of this week. The work goes on hard and stressful, but what happiness I have to believe and to feel and to testify that there is a God who loves me and helps me, who knows of my imperfections and forgives me when I mess up. I sit here content with this understanding. 

Sending out positive vibes to you all. Shoutout to my big brother Holden who turns 21 today and to Kelsey and Rees who are tying the knot this week. I wish I could be there with you guys!

Everyone, take a quick moment and think about life. And then think about Christ. How can you make these two things more complimentary in your day-to-day dealings? I promise that as we chose to follow Christ, he will bless us in the most wonderful ways. 

See you all soon enough!
Élder Hardcastle

6 months, bug, and selfies with the Ayres=)

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