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 =)

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Que coman torta. (Let them eat cake.)

and I'm staying in Baradero! Yayy!

So Elder Mussin's visa came and he left me for the United States of America. This is the fifth companion I have booted off to the States. This last one stung a bit, knowing that he would be able to go to Cafe Rio and Jamba Juice and all that jazz, but just two transfers more after this one and I'll be headed back home. It's strange to think that I am reaching the end! 

But we are still working up a storm here in Baradero. My new companion is Elder Tolentino, from Peru, and we are getting along really great! Really humble and just goes with the flow. 

So about the title... well I have been doing some brainstorming about how I can better serve and love the people. And I was thinking and thinking, and I think that one of the attributes of love is going out of your way to help another. Elder Uchtdorf once said that love is spelled T. I. M. E. And I decided a would take away a bit of my free time at night (easy now that they give us an hour and a half) and I make cakes! I bought myself a nice little Bundt pan and was ready to get rolling. But then I ran into a dilemma, the recipe. At first I was walking through the chino (supermarket owned by Chinese folk) looking for a bizcuchuelo mix (like a quick cake mix) but couldn't find any! So, I was like well, it looks like we are going to have to do this the old fashion way. So I went over to the flour and looked on the bags to see if they had a simple cake recipe... and there was! Being a missionary has made me very domestic. But it was a really basic recipe, and I wanted something jazzy-er. So I put on my thinking cap again, and received PURE REVELATION: Stick jello mix with it. So I did some modifying to the recipe and have come out with a winner. Thus far I have made a strawberry cake, a pineapple cake, and vanilla pudding cake. I make them and the we give them to our investigators. It's hard not to love someone when you give them a cake. So far the efforts have been satisfying, and we are excited to keep up the work and to spread the love! Today I am working on a vanilla one with chocolate frosting courtesy of Nesquick chocolate milk powder. Elder Mussin left it in the apartment from when he left, and we are missionaries here on a budget. Hay que aprovechar. 

We started to teach a great family this week! They are passing through a lot of trials right now and want to get closer to Christ! They have a lot of potential, the only problem is going to be how to get them to church, because they live on the other side of town... but we'll worry about that when the time comes. One thing at a time. 

We are also working with this couple so that the husband gets divorced so they can get married! And they are making progress! I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY. When you find situations like this, your faith gets put into play. At the beginning I was like ''I don't know if we will be able to do this,'' But through small constant efforts, they are progressing. They have gone to church now FOUR TIMES since I've been here in Baradero, and the wife is on page 35ish of the Book of Mormon. REPENTANCE IS REAL! And they told us to come over Wednesday to eat with them. And yes, we did give them a cake. =)   Pray for them so that they can get the divorce and get married please! And then the wife can get baptized!

I love being a missionary. I love serving others. I love baking. It's fun. Well, maybe not every moment instantaneously, but all the good we do now gets turned into a blessing, which means fun in the future as well, and I like that. SO WAKE UP AND DO SOMETHING GOOD!

That's all for this week, folks. See you all soon enough!

Elder Hardcastle=)

The pineapple cake

...¡hola mundo!

Feb. 6, 2017

¿Cómo anda la gente?

Wowzers, sorry for being underground. It's just that these last fews weeks have been loco crazy, so I hope to write a lot right now! Are you ready?

World Missionary Training
I am sure the majority of you all know by now the news and changes that we are going through. AND THEY MAKE ME SO HAPPY! Oh going back to the apartment is so nice now because we can just relax. But on a more spiritual note, the training was amazing, just what I needed. With the taking away of many key indicators, I feel like we can dedicate our time fully to finding people to teach the gospel to and preparing them to make important, life-saving convenants with our Heavenly Father! It has definitely helped us... we have an invesitgator pool of around 11ish people! we just need to help them keep their committments and keep repenting, and they will be golden members of the restored church!

Elders with the Elderly
So a couple of weeks ago we were talking with a eldery sister in Baradero who told us that she would go and sing to her aunt who is in a assisted living center. So we said we wanted to go sing! So she prepared a day and then we went one day, we were in divisions but everyone wanted to go and so we manned up a quadruplet and sang! It was a residency of just cute little grandmas, and they fell in love with us, the dears. haha We are going to have to go sing there again! And it was a fun and simple way to brighten up their day, and ours!

I don't know about you, but I'm feeling twenty, too.
So I'm twenty now. hmm. That sounds more grown up in english. veinte just doens't have the same maturity attatched to it. I really didn't want to do anything on my birthday, just work. I had kept really secret, but then my companion spilled the beans to the Luquez family (one of my favorite families an Argentina) and they prepared me a little something=) and I had ice cream cake! and then last monday for pday they made us an asado. It was nice and they made me feel special=) but now the fun is over and THE WORK IS ON! Just kidding. I still try to work and have fun=)

San Barapedro progressing
But speaking of work, the work is, as they say here, A FUL. We have been working hard with our investigators and really trying to help them accept the Gospel, and all of them still want to learn more, and so the number just keeps building, and we have so many people to teach! Like have need to get married before they can get baptized, so we are working with that, and then the rest just need to go to church. I DON'T KNOW WHY IT IS SO HARD! but we had three in the church yesterday, and San Pedro had four, so we are happy for our slow but sure progress of our district. We have a baptism scheduled for next week, my first one in this area! I am so blessed!
...So as you can see, Elder Hardcastle is doing just fine here, and loving the mission. I can't believe how much the Lord blesses me. I really don't feel like I deserve it all, but he take my sorry efforts and brings them to life. Oh how great the goodness of our God! He knows us and is mindful of us. I am so grateful for Jesus Christ and the love and grace he gives me. I know I have a far way to go to be perfect, but he helps me on my way and I just am so sure he loves me and wants me to keep going strong. He is my example. I love Him

Have a great day, all. and I'll SEE YOU ALL SOON ENOUGH!

Elder Hardcastle