Wednesday, August 31, 2016


Is it too casual to use hashtags? That has been my inward debate during the mission, So I figured I'd ask you all. If it is, forgive me, and if you tell me I will stop. But It just seemed like a perfect title for all the occurances this week with the mission tour.

Oh, the mission tour (or as we say, gira misional).

 So the tour was split into three days, with one part of the mission at a time coming to San Fernando to come and listen to Elder Texeira and other great leaders in the church (like the new councelor for Sudamérica Sur, Elder Bragg). Every day I had to go to San Fernando to perform, which I don't mind to much. I like changes.  =)  Little did I know I was set up to have probably one of the worst sets of first impressions Elder Texeira has ever received. While I was singing the first day, my voice cracked. I just started singing and I was like ''oh no there is something in my throat.'' The week prior I had been sick, and our musical number was just after lunch and I think a mixture of the two just did not go well. The good news is that after I cracked and could clear my throat, it went a lot better!

But wait. Did you think it ended there?

The second day it was our Zone's turn to go. And I thought we were doing good with the time, until we got off the train. I saw my trainer Elder Carrasco leaving from San Fernando and he told me ''Hurry up, you're late'' and I was thinking ''not even, we still have like five minutes. But as we were walking, I began to doubt. Can it be that I messed up the arrival time? Yep. So we got there a good solid half hour late into the conference.

But wait. Did you think it ended there?

Day three. I am in the bus talking with a lady. I was trying to show her my name tag, but TRICKS I CAN'T BECAUSE I FORGOT IT. And then my voice cracked again.

But here are some good parts of the week that I shared with Pte Smith: This week, like I stated last week, I wanted to work on Abrir la Boca, and was able to see some great results. It is not my favorite thing, starting conversations with strangers, but it is getting easier and I am seeing progress. It's so easy to tie the conversations into the Gospel of Jesus Christ as well. Even though my time in the area was cut pretty short this week (all the trips to San Fernando, a exchanges due to a sick elder that I had to stay with), I was blessed to talk with some really great people! I was able to share the Gospel with lots of great people in public transportation during my many visits to San Fernando=) In our area, thanking to opening our mouths, were able to begin teaching Marcial, and also added Isabel to our pool of investigators. Yesterday afternoon we left to go and do visits with Felicia, our recent convert, and ended by talking with her son, who accepted to read, pray, and go to church next week! He also says he'll get baptized when he receives his answer, but we didn't put down a baptismal date yet because he isn't married to his wife. Buuuuut we can change that. Thanks to our tour with Elder Texeira and our zone conference, I have lots of fire to go finding this week! I would really like to have six baptisms this transfer, it has been a loooong time since I was able to be part of miracle like that, and I hope now is the time. We are seeing some good fruits from our labors this last week, and loook forward to seeing more. I have starting trying to find at all times, hope to nurture this desire and do it even more, with less apprehension every time.

That's some of the great points of the week, I hope you have enjoyed some of it more than I did=(

BUT I love you guys! And will see you all soon enough!

Elder Hardcastle=)

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

New Transfer, New Me, Same Area

Hello my peope! How are y'all doing=)

Well, last week we found the secret to finding new investigators: FOOD. We did a Noche de Hogar with Felicia and a few others members in the ward, where I made tacos. Thanks goodness for my past Mexican companion that taught me! they turned out super good (paprika with pizza seasoning with lemon makes a great seasoning for chicken), and Felicia's neighbors and family came wandering in to witness all the action. Come hungry, leave happy from being spiritually and physically fed=)

This week I had a bit of a change in focus. I had a bit of an emergency exchange this last week with my district leader Elder Sagripanti so that he could do a baptismal interview and his companion could work in the villa. Presidente Smith is a big fan of Abrir la Boca (open your mouth) and wants us to be missionaries in every moment, so we made an effort to share the gospel in as many moments as we could. Our focus: public transportation. We talked to people in the premetro, subway, and bus. To be honest, I am NOT a fan of talking with strangers (haha welcome to missionary life Elder Hardcastle). It is hard for me to just start up a conversation. But Christ did even harder things so I think I'll be okay, being a little bit uncomfortable is healthy I think. Since usually people aren't too excited to listen to gospel message right from the beginning, I look for some other route to start talking (what their clothing says, where they are going, etc.). I made it a goal now to open my mouth whenever I use public transportation. And I got a lot of practice this week with all our visits to San Fernando, and got to talk to some really great people!  So far I have only failed three times, and have received a greater appreciation for this work. It is not my work, I can should share it as much as Christ would.

Also yesterday I ran into an ex-elder and his wife yesterday in the subway. I was changing subways lines to make our connection, and I saw this young man and woman and I was like, ''they do not look like they are from here.'' The man man half nodded at me, and then we got in the same carriage. I'm pretty sure we had some awkward half glances, and then he came over to me and said ''Hey Elder how are you doing?!'' I was like ''I KNEW IT'' haha (Ex) Elder Jorgensen finished the mission a year ago and came back to visit with his wife. Small world, right?

Transfer calls came yesterday, and the reign of Elder Hardcastle has yet to come to an end. As far as the members know, thee was only one other elder that stayed here for so long. The Zone leaders actually told us there wasn't any info about us in the transfer info, (likely because my companion Elder Boccazzi is finishing up his trámites (don't know that word in english) to go to Utah in the near future) so in the meantime we will just keep working in Soldati until we recieve further notice=)

I hope you all have a great week! This week we have our mission tour with Elder Texeira, so stay tuned for some great stuff next week!

See you all soon enough!
Elder Hardcastle

Monday, August 15, 2016

The Savior is our SUBE

Buenas Tardes from Buenos Aires!!!! The fun is in the pun!

So this week was a week. It started out with our ensayo (that means practice, in case you wanted to know) for the musical number for the mission tour in San Fernando. It was our second practice and the song already sounds so good. Did you guys look up the song? Do it. It is sooooo amazing. Elder Morales (piano) and Hermana Singleton (violin) are literally musical geniouses, and Elder Bustos (the other vocalist)  is pretty much already a professional, so I just play it cool and sing when I'm told=) It is really such a side experience. Let's hope these sorts of side attractions keep up for the rest of the mission!

After the practice we then headed to San Isidro for interviews with Presidente Smith and his wife! We got to eat tacos =) and Pte Smith whipped out the Tobasco (Argentines are so anti-spicy it's almost ridiculous) and we convinced Elder Boccazzi into putting some on his taco, where he just about died. =) I promise I am really nice to him! I had really great interviews starting with the one with Hna Smith. I think it was mostly a get-to-know-you and a how-are-you-doing with all the demands of the mission. We already had the getting-to-know-you part down (Hna Smith thinks it's so cool that we are related, because it is!) but we got to take the time to talk about how I meet the emotional demands of the mission. It was a good moment of being able to see how the challenges I've faced in the mission really shaped my character into a really happy fellow. I have really learned that I can just do what I can do, and I leave the rest to God, even when it is hard and it seems like other people have more success. I am learning and growing, and have a great life, so why should I waste time being sad?!
After that I had another good interview, this time with Pte. Smith. He helped me out with some questions I had with investigators and gave me some good advice as to better help bring people to repentence and conversion. He also 'prescribed' to me a list a scriptures, one of the which was John 15. I had read it before, but this time it really hit me. This scripture talksabout Christ being the 'vine,' which I am pretty sure in this text it is referring to the larger, main branches of the tree. Anyways Chirst is calling us to be good, fruitful branches that some forth from the vine. Those that do not bring forth fruit shall be cast off. And burned. The Savior's plea in this chapter is that we abide with Him, which is then supported by the future results and consequences of this discipleship. To abide with Him is to recieve all blessings, to be fruitful, to have our prayers answered to dwell in His love, to have a fullness of joy, and to be called His friends. To NOT abide is to be cast forth, withered, and cast into the fire and burned. And that does not sound all that fun. So, what is the secret to abiding in Christ? Simple. Keeping His commandments. What are His first and greatest commandments? That we love HIm and love others as he loved us. So that was the first bout of revelation this week. LOVE OTHERS GUYS

The second bout came this morning, the Savior is our SUBE. I was reading about the importance of the Book of Mormon, and I was wondering, ''How can I make this easier to explain/understand. And then came the revelation (listen up good this is gold): God is our Father and wants us to be able to get to his home. But he lives far away and we don't know how to get there. So he gives us map and directions, which are the Gospel of Jesus Christ! And this journey we have to do a lot of things, we have to take the subway. the train, maybe a bus here and there, and we don't have the money to pay for all this travel. That is where Christ comes in! He is our SUBE card, which is this card we have here to pay for all public transit. He promised to stay full of cash as long as we follow the route he has shown us. We might not always understand all the directions, but as we place our confidence in Him he will guide us and show us that we are on the right path. GUYS I HIT THE SPIRITUAL LOTTERY HERE.

Apart from all that, we had a pretty challenging week. Pretty much everything, EVERYTHING fell through, and we have pretty much nothing now in our area, but I know as I try to do my best, it is going to be okay, and I can do this and be happy! I am putting my confidence in my Heavenly Father and my Savior, and they are helping me grow and develop as I show them my faith.

I hope you are have a really great week and that you all show your love for others to trust more in God's plan than your own. He is smarter than you!

Okay that is all. See you all soon enough!

Elder Hardcastle

1. My son Elder Boccazzi, my adopted son Elder McBride, and I. I don't know what they were doing with their heads... but yeah.
2. Some of the best cereal here is made by the 7th Day Adventists #ibuyitanyways
3. Another great tie found after the feria on Saturday.
4. Deviled eggs for some holy missionaries. Notice the egg yolk on my fingernail #madefresh
5. This cool tower that has an abandoned amusement park underneath.  Apparently you can see Uruguay from the top of this tower, but we couldn't find out how to get in=( I was really wanting to go up too. Oh well. Also I was thinking about Sarah Palin saying ''You can see Russia from my house'' when we were trying to figure out how to get inside.

Opportunity is just around the corner


Let's just start out with Wednesday, which I am dubbing Weird Wednesday. Because it was weird. But it started out Grrrrrreat. It started out with a nice practice for a musical number for the mission tour we will be doing later this month with Elder Texeira. I am always so happy and feel so blessed when  I am given these opportunities to sing! This time I feel almost a little scared because it is just a duet with piano and violin. I'm singing with one of the assistants, Elder Bustos, who sings craaaaazy good. We are singing Rock of Ages from the face to face devotional with Elder Holland (LOOK IT UP). The practice was amazing. The song already sounds so good after just one practice. I'll try and put something on dropbox when we get going a bit farther along! So I was pumped from the practice and then later that day we got to the real deal missionary work. Where things started sliding downhill. We passed by the house of an investigator and her daughters to go and talk (and to bring up a baptismal date!!) I started to share Alma 7:11-16, which is a great scripture to talk about the Atonement of Jesus Christ and to find the needs of an investigator. Well we found out their need: A better family life. The father, son, and husband are all against them learning more about the church. The son even turned UP his music when the mom asked him to turn it down. There's a rule if the head of the household won't allow the members of the family to be baptized, they can't do it. This mother was so frustrated and crying, it was so sad. She told us in maybe a few years they will let her learn more. Let's hope so. For now we will just have to leave her with her Book of Mormon so she can keep reading it and receiving the peace she gets from doing it. After that, We went to our other investigator's house, Remember 'Juan'? Yeah him. Well we went to his house, and he wasn't there. so I called him and he answered, and he was acting WAAAAAAY weird. And he started talking about how he is part of another church and never going to change.... okaaaaay. It was so weird because we have been seeing some great progress with him and had some really great experiences. He told us to not go by his house anymore, but sorry Juan, we can't just end like that over the phone! we will try to talk with him again this week when he has had some time to calm down.
So at this point I was just thinking ''Well this is kind of weird''. Basically all we had had just gone down the drain! But as we turned the corner, a friend of the member that was accompanying us with visits started talking to the member. OPPORTUNITY IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER. We talked for a moment and arranged to pass by his house Saturday. Well fast forward to Saturday, and we had a amaaaaaazing lesson with 'Mario' and his wife. We talked about the Resortation and he and his wife accepted the challenge to read the Book of Mormon and to pray about it. I asked him why, and he got real quiet and began to share some of the struggles he is having in his life right now. He shared with us how he felt like we had come at exactly the right moment. We shared Mosíah 2:41 (one of my favorite scriptures... READ IT) which talks about how those that follow God's commandments receive temporal and spiritual blessings, and then we talked about eternal families (he has two girls and one on the way) He is so prepared for the Gospel. The wife seems to be pretty set in her church, which scared us because Mario says he will only make his change with his family, but the couple accepted a baptismal date at the end of the lesson! Now it all depends in their faith to determine what their outcome will be!

So yeah that was the excitement of the week. Elder Boccazzi and I are doing really well and keeping up the work without getting too trunky!

Challenge of the Week. Read 2 Nephi 25:26. What do YOU do to talk and testify of Christ during your daily dealings?

See you all soon enough!

Elder Hardcastle=)