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=)

Pictures:

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

MILAGROS

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!

Atte:

Elder Hardacstle =)


Monday, April 17, 2017

¡EPA!

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.

Friday, April 14, 2017

¡Feliz Pascua!

How y'all doing? 

Another week has come and gone here in the great Argentina Buenos Aires North Mission. It started out quite strange, to be honest. After finishing up Pday we were walking and we ran across two señores who we had never met that were less actives. And they wanted to talk so we decided to go over to the church and talk there since we were close by. My companion thought they looked a bit shady but it all turned out good! And then later in the day we passsed a member in the street and were able to invite her friend to learn more! And then that day as we were walking back to the apartment another young adult came and talked to us! So, it was probably some of the three most eventful hours of my mission! haha

But let's talk more about the young guy for a second. We'll call him Miguel. He is really great! Miguel came to church yesterday and is really eager to start coming to Christ. He was an antiguo invesitgador so I looked up his record, and he met the missionaries like six years ago and lots tried but with little success. But, it just goes to show you, it's not on our time, but in God's time. 

We also had a small miracle on the same note! A couple of weeks ago we met a 16 year old who showed interest in learning more, but then afterwards we never found him at home. Then this last Friday we found him in the street and taught him a little bit about the Book of Mormon, and he accepted a baptismal date. Obviously, we can't go around teaching minors and we went to talk to his dad. Sadly, the dad said that he was not going to allow that we teach his son, that he was already teaching him ''in his own way.'' I was kind of sad at the end but thought that all will be okay, in a little bit more than a year he will be 18 and be able to have more liberty in making choices. 

This week I was able to finish the challenge that our mission president gave a us few months ago of reading Jesus the Christ. THAT IS A BIG BOOK. But it has helped me understand more about my Savior and has strengthened my testimony that He really is the Christ and this is His church. 

I hope you all have a great Easter, but don't forget the reason for the season! I love the Savior. Read about his life, watch the videos that the Church made 
(The Prince of Peace: watch it here) And think about all he has done for us. Oh, it is wonderful, wonderful to me!

Also, my trunky papers came today. So... See you all soon enough!


Elder Hardcastle



Monday, April 3, 2017

Conference Weekend is the Best Weekend

Hi (I can't think of anything more original to say)

So how are you all? This week we had lots of things going on like zone conference, a baptismal interview, a baptism, and GENERAL CONFERENCE which left us with pretty much just two full days of work. But it's all good because Conference was full of inspiration and revelation, and this week will be great. 

This week I learned that there is no such thing as an easy baptism. We have been working with this wonderful little grandma named Ester. She is the mother of a lady that got baptized about 21 years ago and is such a dear lady. I got to El Talar and the Elders had already been teaching her and she was so ready I thought, “This will be the easiest baptism ever!”  WRONG. Trying to get everything done in the Lord's way was hard, and even though there was quite a bit of opposition and stress in the process, we held to our integrity and Ester was able to be baptized before the Saturday Conference with a last minute surprise visit from Presidente Smith to support her!

Also I saw my very first Latino rap battle in the park the other day. That was pretty neat. 

And GENERAL CONFERENCE. I love listening to the leaders of this Church. They are truly inspired by our Father in Heaven. I especially enjoyed the continued theme of the Godhead and listening and following the promptings of the Holy Ghost THE FIRST TIME THEY COME. I know I am guilty of letting the little thoughts go by justifying them and putting up excuses, but Conference gave me a little nudge telling me that I need to work on acting first and asking questions later. And of course, L. Whitney Clayton gave one of my favorite talks, speaking about being obedient to the small things to see solutions to the big problems in our life. So, I ask you guys: Are you studying the scriptures daily? Are you keeping the Sabbath day holy or just going to church? Are you praying every day? If you are lacking in these things, I'd like to invite you to starting doing them=) I know that by doing these things we come can nearer to our Savior! I know I have found lots of strength and peace and joy as I have tried my best to do this.

I hope you all have a great week! See you all soon enough!

Atentamente,

Elder Hardcastle


The cutest little 84 year old Argentine grandma there is.


Huevos de Pascua






Friday, March 31, 2017

To the Suburbs!

Hello family and friends. 

I'm sweating again :( so that's a little bit of a downer, but that's something of little importance because lots of great things happened this week!

I was transferred! I am now in El Talar, with Elder Oyola from Perú. We get along really well so far and I really enjoy the area.  I have had the chance to meet with some of the members and feel their desires to advance the missionary work in the area. I felt a lot of the missionary spirit in Church, I think in every hour there was some comment about how we need to share the Gospel with others! I love that! I have had some ideas and the counselor in the bishopric who is our mission leader shows lots of promise. I am really excited!

 And we also have a baptism this Saturday! Even though it is an older lady who will be attending in a different ward after with her daughter, I hope it will be another boost to their ánimo (how do you say that in English?).

This week we spent lots of time in the street trying not to get too lost and also spent some extra time cleaning. You can't feel the Spirit so strong in a dirty apartment! also the toilet was broken and water would get all over the floor, but it has been fixed, and after many trips to the garbage and a few bottles of bleach later, it's starting to look pretty good! 

Also, today we played fútbol for the first time in ages (I was dreading this moment). The good news is that I've gotten better! the bad news is that I'm still the worst. It's a good thing we aren't here to share soccer to the world, or I'd be a goner. 

Also, I hope you are all as excited for GENERAL CONFERENCE as I am! I looooooove reading the conference talks, our leaders are truly inspired by God! So preparense bien and write down a few of your questions, because it's going to be good.

Love you all and will see you all soon enough!


Elder Hardcastle

Monday, March 20, 2017

Where Can I Turn for Peace?

Greetings!

This letter will act as my summary for this week and last week, because I forgot to carry my journal and forgot to write about some of the excitement. 

Okay so first we will start out with the Great Mosquito Massacre, Last week a big storm passed through Baradero in the middle of the night, and our air conditioning stopped working and just started beeping. I got up and tried turning it off, but the remote couldn't turn it off, so I had to climb up a chair and turn off the thing (air conditioning is weird here, I'll explain another day if you have interest). But, in an effort to still have cool air circulating through the room, I opened the window and let some of the cool stormy breeze in. Later that night I heard buzzing around my head. and then again. and again. And I knew- it was mosquitos. I ran downstairs and grabbed the mosquito killer spray we had and started spraying it around the room. Unfortunately, it didn't work as well as hoped, or perhaps it was too late and the damage was already done, because when I woke up I had mosquito bites all over my arms and head and neck. It was horrible. I had like 74 bites. And the little nasties were hiding all over the room, so I kept the killer spray on hand (it worked really good for direct kills) and during our morning studies I would stop every so often to kill the filthy creatures. They were FILLED with blood. I have photo proof. The good news is that my companion didn't wake up and had few bites, if any;  I don't have dengue (yet); and I killed all the mosquitos. 

These two weeks we have tried just about everything possible, I called almost every person in the Area book, we called the people in our future investigator sheets, we contacted around the church, 
and we walked. Oh, did we walk. I want to see how much I have walked here in Baradero. But Thursday was an eventful day. For starters, we had six dogs follow us, and at one point five of them at the same time! And then I found a hidden alley I hadn't even seen before so we decided to enter and contact. I contacted a house and the man that answered played the ''Look over there!'' game with us. Well, he got me to look and closed the door when we weren't looking=) It was really classy. 

Then later in the day we knocked on a door and a lady came out. Our conversation went as follow:
Elder Hardcastle: ''Hi we are from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints...'' 
Lady: ''Okay, but I'm ''[other religion].''
Elder Hardcastle: ''So wouldn't you like to learn more about Jesus?''
Lady: ''No, I'm going to Church right now, that's how I'll learn.''

I had to hand it to her for answering well. I like to throw in the ''Wouldn't you like to learn about Jesus?'' question every so often, and you'd be surprised by how many people say no! It makes me sad. 

We also had a lesson with a man who couldn't accept that the Book of Mormon could have the same value as  the Bible. Even though we shared many things and testified, he kept talking in circles bringing up the same excuses, Oh well. I had prepared WELL for the lesson, so if nothing more I came out with a stronger testimony of the necessity of the Book of Mormon. Go read 2 Nephi 29 if you have any questions. 

Friday we had another nice testimony of the importance of our studies. We met with a less active family from Bolivia that stopped coming to church for a few problems in the branch. Just that afternoon in companionship study we had discussed the importance of going to church, so it was perfect. The Hermana also told us that she likes singing and music, so I asked if I could sing for them  Dónde hallo el solaz? (Where Can I Turn for Peace?) which we had sung that day as well! It was a nice visit and I hope they start coming to church because they are really great!

That is a wrap for this week. I love being a missionary! It is the greatest thing I have ever done. 

See you all soon enough,

Elder Hardcastle

Pictures1 and 2- Mosquito Massacre 
3- Amores family
4- Hugo and Daniela and Co.





Tuesday, March 14, 2017

From Puddle to Popsicle

Well well well, Happy Monday! 

I hope you are all well! this week went by super duper fast. I forgot to bring my journal to the cyber so I am trying to remember all that has happened, hold up a second....

So Iet's start with Tuesday. Tuesay we did divisiones (exchanges) with the District. I was with my good friend Elder Valbuena. He is still just an acorn in his training, but he is super great. Also, he comes from the Canary Islands, so that's pretty exotic. Haha I love him a ton and he considers himself one of my children in the mission, so that makes him another one of my adopted elders here haha. Also he told me I can go visit him over there when he gets back so that's pretty much a done deal. 

ALSO! So do you all remember that I was working with a family that needed to get married but needed to start the husband´s divorce first? yeah, well they finished their papers and turned them in! So now they just have to wait! The wife has received her answer and they went to church again this week, and their kids were the most reverent ones in the meeting! haha. I probably won't be here for the wedding or the baptism of the wife, but I am just so happy with their progress I am so sure that everything will turn out great!

Also this last week I had to do some baptismal interviews in San Pedro and while I was there I forgot my planner somewhere, so it's been hard trying to remember the meetings that we were supposed to have. Oops! I think I am the person most prone to losing things on the planet... oh well. 

AND THEN! yesterday I had to put on a sweater because it was cold. This country has the strangest weather (hence the subject line). 

That's about it for this week! I can't believe how fast the time is flying! Read your scriptures and take a nap for me, but remember that I'll see you all soon enough! (13 weeks ayyy qué loco)

Chau!

Elder Hardcastle =)



Saturday, March 11, 2017

Running Around

Howdy y'all!

Well, these last two weeks have been filled with running all around the mission! We had a mission tour with Elder Levrino from the Seventy, baptismal interviews, interviews with President Smith, and another meeting in San Isidro, But we kept a good attitude through it all and This last week we were able to find quite the quantity of investigators! OPEN YOUR MOUTH haha. 

So this Mission Tour was pretty cool. Elder Levrino and his wife spoke to us A LOT about obedience and repentance. Like a lot. Much was said about the difference between the mission rules and some mission 'traditions' that aren't in line with the rules. Many misunderstandings were cleared up. Pte Smith is really doing his best to make sure we are doing all that we can so that we receive lots and lots of blessings! Personally, my favorite part of the conference was when Hna Levrino gave an object lesson about repentance. She brought cake and I got to eat some of it served to me by a missionary tied up! Interesting and satisfying. 

Also, just so you know, last Monday it rained, and I saw a DOUBLE RAINBOW ALL THE WAY ACROSS THE SKY. Too bad I didn't have my camera!

We also had a wonderful miracle this week. Two weeks ago when I went to do a baptismal interview in Zárate, I managed to obtain a referral! So this last week we went to go looking for the man (it wasn't the most specific address... complete with a quick drawing in my planner haha). We managed to find the house, but the man that answered us said that the person we were looking for wasn't home. He was nice though so we decided to take advantage to the situation to invite him to learn more, but he wasn't to interested, and we left. Well fast forward to Friday. We were headed to the bus terminal which is like thirty blocks away from our house so we called a remis (taxi), and guess who was our driver? The same guy who talked to us at the door! When we got to the terminal he asked me for the book I has showed him (el Libro de Mormón, obvio), so we arranged to visit him. Now fast forward to the next day. We get to the house and the man really opens up to us. He admits that he is really the man we were looking for in the first place, and tells us that after he first met us, he saw us like the next day or so in town, and then again when we got in his car. He decided that it could not be a coincidence and wanted to figure out what we trying to teach him. HE told us as well that he lost his wife about 16 years ago and since then has felt like a part of him was empty, we testified that he will be able to see his wife again and gave him Alma 41 to read! We are going to pass by his house again this week, pray for the best!

...So that is some of the fun from the week! Thank you all for your prayers and support! I love you! Keep on the straight and narrow, and I'll see you all soon enough!

Atte,

Élder Hardcastle




Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Slowly melting away.

I am grateful for air conditioning. I'll leave it at that. 

Good afternoon friends and family! It's me again. Checking in from a very soupy Baradero. My poor companion is sweating PROFUSELY. Always. But we are enjoying working together. Elder Tolentino cracks me up, we are laughing a whole bunch. 

This week was kind of strange because we did multidivisiones as a zone (multi-exchanges.) I stayed in my area and helped my friend Elder Dote from Chile get to know Baradero. But here's the kicker: we only worked from 5-9 (I sincerely hope that Dolly Pardon just sang that in your head) because..¡SORPRESA! Buses come to our area only once in a blue moon. But it was fun while it lasted. And the Next day we had to go back to Zárate to finish the exchanges, and once again we got back to Baradero just to work the late afternoon. And then the next day was Weekly planning, o sea, three more hours in the apartment. But what we could do Friday and Saturday we did, and we eagerly waited for Sunday because we had quite a few investigators that had told us that they would be going to Church.

And then Sunday came, and as usual, we were met with a curve ball. The member that was going to help us look for a family of investigators in his car slept in, making it pretty much impossible for us to look. Our progressing investigator didn't come, and another investigator with lots of potential didn't either. So I was sitting in the church at peace with my efforts, because I knew I had done all that I could, but just the tiiiiiiniest bit grumpy. Luckily one investigator came and stayed for all the meetings. Still a bit grumpy after lunch we began to work, which included visiting many of the people that were going to come but hadn’t.  As we began to visit these people, I began to feel a little bit more empathy. One investigator had made it to the door of the church but got cold feet at the last minute and didn't enter. Another didn't go because he needed to solve a problem that had occurred with another person. One family didn't go because their phones were on silent and didn't hear the alarm, but hadn't smoked the whole day, Which was big, big news! I've learned that we are all imperfect. We make mistakes. Meeting with these investigators after helped me understand their situation and know what they need to learn and do so that we can help them change to become more fully devoted followers of Christ. 

Also, today is February 20. O sea, Today two years ago I opened up my mission papers, and found out that I was called to serve in the Argentina Buenos Aires North Mission. If you stalk my Facebook, surely you will find video footage recording the grand event. I can honestly say I had no idea what I was getting myself into. ¡SORPRESA! Without a doubt this has been the hardest thing that I have ever done in my life. But I am so grateful for all the growth this experience has given me. I now more fully understand who I am as a human being and as a child of God, and how the Gospel of Jesus Christ helps me become more than I could be on my own. I know how the Gospel needs to be lived and how it can be applied in my life to yield wonderful results. I love being a missionary!

And that is all for this week! I hope you all have a great day and I'll see you all soon enough. =)


Elder Hardcastle =)