Monday, January 25, 2016

Amazed, grateful, blessed.

As I was trying to come up with a catchy title to the email, I thought of ''What just happened'' ''The work and the wait'' and some other great things. Really, yesterday was a day I never dreamed of. We always hear of these wonderful missionary miraculous moments, and I think yesterday I received one of mine. 

The vision of the mission is to work through the members. This week we worked through the members, we tried receiving refferals through the members, we visited less actives, and tried to get members to help us out in the street so we could do some contacting. I'd love to say that it all came out perfect and that we received lots of referrals and that the members never fell through when we asked them to help help, but that would be lying. The only day we had a member in the street it was for about an hour and a half, and it was because a member from Elder Caifual's last area came to show us a referral she had for us. We tried to ask a member questions to help think of people to give us as referrals that L Whitney Clayton gave us in the Missionary Seminar (do you guys even know how much I love that man? He is the best ever), but she couldn't think of anybody that fit into those categories in our area. At the end of the week though, we had a list of around 8 people that we were were waiting to see in the church, 6 less actives and 2 investigators. 

Out of all these people, only one less active actually came to church, but she attended with the ward of San Miguel (but for the time being I am just super happy she came to church). So much for our efforts of the week. But then the miracles started to occur. About an hour and a half into our church attendance another less active came with one child and four grandchildren. The grandchildren aren't baptized and she wants us to teach them. Then, later on I was talking with an Hermana and she told me she was going to visit a less active family that evening. I asked if we could come and she said yes (we'll get to this later.). So with hopes a little higher we continued on our way.

After church we had lunch with a part-member family. This family has had the missionaries working with them for a while, there are like 3 registers for them in the Area Book. Last time we ate with them we talked about baptism and invited the nonmembers to be baptized, but they told us no. During the lunch I shared the spiritual thought about the OLA, and after Elder Caifual expounded a little bit more. We were talking about about the Book of Mormon or something along the lines of the Restoration and the wife of the member told us she never had heard of Joseph Smith. WHAAAAT? In the registers it says that she had already had that lesson before, but I don't know what happened, so we quickly changed and gave the lesson of the Restoration. She told us after that now she understand the importance of the Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon and all that good stuff, and she accepted the invitation to be baptized the 14 of February, as well as one of her kids (we need to get the signature now, but we have the oral consent) and her mother. The wife already has the three church attendances but we are still planning on three weeks with her so we can teach them all as a family. They are so prepared! 

After lunch we had the visit with the hermana. We applauded outside the gate, but no one came. She turned to us and asked, ''Alright, where are we going now?'' ready to get some missionary work done (this hermana is the person most dedicated to the missionary work in the branch. She loves to accompany but due to complications could not help out this last week) we started off and a little bit later I said hi to a person in the street and right after she asked us if we wanted a drink at her house in the corner. It was a day pretty dang roasty and we accepted her gesture and this opportunity to spread the Gospel. So as we sat and drank she told us she loved the missionary work. We got talking and she told us some things and it was was pretty clear that she was wanting some help. We talked about our purpose, and taught in a very roundabout way the Restoration with her as well. At the beginning of our visit she wasn't the type of person that goes to church, but by the end her perspective changed and she accepted the invitation to be baptized (she might have a vacation but we will see what we work out).

After that, we went to the house of a referral from the elders in San Miguel. We talked with the lady there and began to work with CoCo (Como comenzar a enseñar, or How to begin teaching for you English folk). I asked her why she gave her direction to the elders and she told us she likes to listen to other peoples' perspectives, but wasn't going to change her own ideas. My companion said a few things about how we aren't here to change people, rather to help them follow Christ (or something like that, I still don't know exactly what happened at this point) and then he invited her to be baptized and she said yes! I was so confused, I though she was going to say no, but hey Elder Caifual knows better. 

I'm still kind of in awe, but just like that, we have five people in our three semanas. We also did some math and figured that if we congregate with these two women we found and receive the signatures of those grandkids we met in the church, we have the possibility of around 14 baptisms February 14. What a happy Valentines Day it will be. This area has been so hard for me. I have been trying to work a lot here and I have been really sweaty and stressed and frustrated sometimes, but it seems like things are starting to fall into place. Our efforts didn't reap a whole bunch of results this week, but I believe that God saw our desires to follow the vision of the mission (and really, of the Church) and work through the members, and even though there weren't very many fruits from our efforts, He saw them sufficient to give us one day jam-packed of miracles, with people in the right places at the right time. God is good, and I feel really blessed, guys. He works with me, is patient with me, and helps me to learn, because let me tell you all, I have a lot to learn. It never stops amazing me how perfect everything is, and I love that about the Gospel.

I hope you all have a great week and also HAPPY BIRTHDAY Thursday to the best twin even and the best Dad ever. =) 


Elder Hardcastle

Monday, January 18, 2016

Hola señor sol, por favor vayase

Well, week one with Elder Caifual was super great. We walked a lot and I filled him in on the goings on in Los Polvorines. Elder Caifual has about a year in the mission, and is really great. I am kind of leading the area right now because obviously he is new in this territory, and it has given me a good opportunity to talk some more and be a little bit more outgoing. He is less extroverted than Elder Molina was, so I get to participate more in our daily activities as well. We both really want to find people in this transfer and that is our goal. One thing that I really admire about my companion is that he is really brave. In Spanish there is term- bajar la caña (drop the cane)- which is basically means 'to call to repentance', like a mother reprimanding a child, for instance. Anyways he can ''bajar la caña''  that I wouldn't ever try to say, but he can do it in such a way that they don't even get offensive, it is glorious=) 

We found some new investigators this week and we have one really good possibility. She is the granddaughter of a less active and seems to have a desire to learn more. We are waiting on the signature of her mom so we can officially start to teach her, but she is really great. We put a baptismal date on her but we will have to change it because she couldn't go to church because she was sick =(  but we will keep visiting with her and hopefully she will be able to see that the pathway to happiness is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Yesterday was a super duper day. When we got to church our Branch President wanted to talk with us and we had a little meeting with him and talked about some of the inner workings and history of the branch, and now we feel a lot more up to date. He also gave us a key to the baptismal font! We helped with the baptism of a girl in the ward too. We helped plan this baptism with her grandparents and they wanted me to sing as part of the baptismal program A Child's Prayer from the Primary Songbook, and I agreed, even though we don't even have a primary songbook in the apartment. anyways, yesterday came around and I saw on the program that I was going to sing it with the ward chorister... SURPRISE I was like 'okay cool this will be different'. So without even practicing together we sang together. For those of you that know the song, there is a child part and an adult part. The 40ish year old hermana was the child and I was the adult. We didn't have accompaniment and she started off singing in a pitch lower than I had anticipated, which totally threw me off and left me singing all confused and whatnot. Anyways it only lasted like 3 minutes so whatever, anythings to be helpful.  =) 

After lunch we started up the work. We tried to find a less active that we have in our directory but we ended getting super lost (and found a poor dead frog in the street  :(), and we come to find out that the street doesn't even exist anymore, it's like a rich people country club. After that we decided to dump the plans we had and went to search for another family in our branch that I know because we were dying of a killer thirst. So we went and caught a bus and it didn't even go where we wanted it to! Like I told him where we wanted to go and he didn't even tell he that it was to wrong bus... whatever. So we had to walk a lot more but we got to the house we wanted eventually and the less active father was there so we were able to talk to him and share a scripture from the Book of Mormon and drink like 6 liters of water (you think we are kidding... it was a lot of water). After that we went and searched for another hermana in our ward that lived more or less close and we only got a little bit more lost again. She is probably one of my favorite people in all of Los Polvorines; She's super religious and is always praising The Almighty and LOVES the missionaries, so we ended off the day with good smiles and happy feelings.  =)

That's about it for the week. ¡¡Espero que todos estén bien y que disfruten esta semana!!

Bye. See you all soon enough!
Elder Hardcastle

photo 1- Chorrillana con Élder Caifual

Spot the non-Chileano (hint: it's me)

Just some more pictures from bowling today. I placed 2nd of 22 Elders with a score of 124... BEAT THAT!
Also Elder Parraguez gave me a haircut today and didn't even mess up this time.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Chileanos are my friends.

When I finish the mission I think I will haveto make a trip to Chile. I seem to be making more friends in the mission from Chile than any other Latin American country. AND THIS MAKES THE PERFECT BUILD UP FOR MY NEXT BIG NEWS: TRANSFERS. We were starting to feel like I would be leaving Los Polvorines and Elder Molina would be there for another transfer, but that was not the case. Elder Molina (And Elder Holtry too, only one transfer over here) has left and Elder Caifual has come, and you want to guess where he is from? Yep, CHILE. He is super great. He has about a year in the mission and seems really sincere and super kind and I am expecting a good solid transfer here in Los Polvorines. I have told him about some of the problems we face and he isn't too scared yet, and I have a feeling that as we strive to be obedient God will help us with our needs.  =)

We had interviews with Presidente Ayre this last week. He said something near the very beginning which stuck out to me. He ask me how I was doing and I told him this area is hard but I was doing okay, and he told me that really I should take this area as a compliment, that God knew that I could take on an area like this. I hadn't ever really thought about it like that, and it made me feel a little bit blessed and it made me remember that Presidente Ayre doesn't make the transfer calls, God does. We talked a lot about goals after the mission and he told me to go big, and to work really hard in my 20s to enjoy the fruits of my labors later in life. Wow, sounds like what my dad says. =)   We also talked a bit about marriage, and I figured I should let mom and dad know that he told me I don't need to get married right after the mission, so they can take a deep breath and relax a bit.  =) 

This day I also had exchanges with my great friend Elder Parraguez. It was so great and he is such a great example of the type of missionary I want to become. This might sound super duper cheesy, but I very well could have found my best friend here in the mission. He is so flipping funny and we decided that he is going to be my cuñado, or as we say in the USA, brother-in-law.  =)   Sorry to break it to you Audrey but I found your future husband. He isn't a 10/10 with his English yet but we are working on it. 
That's about it from the land down south! I'm really looking forward to this new transfer and hope to see some great things over here. We have an investigator who read the Book of Mormon the other day and felt something so we are going to be setting up a lesson with her up here soon and help her on her pathway to conversion, and maybe we'll find some other people along the way in these next 6 weeks. 

See you all soon enough!
Élder Hardcastle

This last week we found these two GIGANTIC cucarachas, yummy. When they are this big they begin to scare me. WE LIVE ON THE FOURTH FLOOR OF OUR APARTMENT BUILDING HOW DO THEY EVEN GET HERE

Elder Parraguez and I. The pizza here is sooooo good. 

Elder Caifual and I

Monday, January 4, 2016

Miracles are good.

Today was a good day and I even went bowling, so beat that=)

In retrospect, this week was a lot better than I had originally planned. We had quite a few miracles and for that I am grateful. We had a lesson with our investigator of 16 years and we put a baptismal date down and everything, and we were going to schedule a day to get the signature of her mom but her mom said that she needed to stay in her church for right now. It was a little sad, but the lesson was great, and we called basically every single active male in our branch to try to help us have this lesson (she told us she only lived with her mom) so we could pass by (haha because we had the lesson at the gate=)), and I really felt like it was a blessing to have a member and his son accompany us after trying so hard to find someone. Then Tuesday I had exchanges with Elder Edmonds and he gave me some good ideas for how to really utilize our time. 

Then Wednesday we had another miracle. We were walking down the street and this lady stopped us and asked if we could come and stop by her house sometime, because her niece was visiting from Utah and is a member of the Church and they wanted to have a chat with us. OF COURSE WE AGREED! This happens approximately never here=) She gave us her phone number and we called her that night and set things up for the next day. We also got to talk to her niece, Camila, who is a return missionary from the Washington DC South Mission. She was born in Argentina but moved to the USA when she was young. Anyways everything was perfect and we were ready to ''do some damage'' as Camila told me=) We went to the house and met with Camila's extended family to teach them about the grand lesson of the Restoration. It was great. One of Camila's friends from the mission, named Kylie, was also visiting, so it was like having four missionaries teach. Oh it was so great, they were really feeling what we were teaching. I lead the conversation into baptism and then Elder Molina asked if they would be baptized. AND... they said no, that they had conformed to Catholicism and didn't want to change. Kind of a build up to nothing, but I know that if nothing more they have a seed planted and maybe in the future things will change. They were super nice and kind, I really can see them being members one day. 

On Saturday we had another miracle. We arranged for a male member to help us with a meeting with a less active so that we could enter and get to know her. We hadn't been able to contact her all week but we decided to try anyways and... she didn't answer. After trying to go around and visit other less actives, this member decided to take us around to visit some acquaintances and introduce them to the missionaries. After not a lot of success we finally found someone that could be really great. We are going to check up with her this week and maybe we can finally have one progressing investigator!!! I sure hope so. 

I was reflecting on the events of this last week and what we lack from doing better, and I realized that if we try just a little bit more every day, those little efforts would make quite a difference by the end of the week. I will try to do a little bit more every day in order to see results by the end of the week. 

It's good to see some little changes here in Los Polvorines. I have some ideas about how to change this area, and by doing those things it will help me in return become a more well-rounded and successful missionary. I hope to see some good things here in the future!
Love you and you all are doing well. I wish you all a great new year and will see you soon enough (in the next year)!

Chau for now
Élder Hardcastle

I WAS going to send some more pictures from Christmas and other stuff, but when I put my SD card in the computer I think something happened and now it doesn't work. So Sorry=(

Note from Mom:  Kylie texted a picture to me of the power teaching appointment!  Yay!