Monday, May 27, 2013

Week 2 Ajax

Hello Family, 

Well I've been in Canada for a week. What an experience it has already been. Where to start....

Happy Birthday to Nicholas today! I don't know if he'll ever read this, but happy birthday! Also, Happy Birthday to Sam on June 1st!

It's exciting that school gets out this week! I hope everyone kicks off the summer the right way! But be safe.

It has been quite cold here. It is really windy, so there is that wind chill. Even when the sun is shining, I have a coat on. I hope it warms up soon though! Also, our apartment is FREEZING! We always walk around in slippers with blankets wrapped around us. During personal and companionship study we basically sit there as a little freeze ball. It's actually pretty terrible. The worst is that the people upstairs control the thermostat, so we just have to deal with it. 

Did I mention I have a memory foam mattress? Yeah, it's probably the greatest thing about the apartment so far. I sleep like a baby each night, so there's a plus!

Tracting isn't the greatest thing in the entire world. But man, it's so necessary when you are whitewashing an area. Unfortunately, everyone in Canada seems to be perfectly fine with their church. Little do they know... hehe.

I've met all different kinds of people. Lots and lots of Muslims. Hardest of all, lots of African Americans. Makes me think of Ashy and Brynn. In fact, the ward mission leader is from Africa, and his little girl looks just like Brynn! I have also met a lot of Atheists. I didn't think there were that many in the world.. yup I was wrong. A lot of people's responses have been "How can you know God is there when terrible things happen every single day?". All I can think is, "How can you NOT know God is there?" Without God, we wouldn't even BE here. I wish more people knew that... time to go tell em eh?? 

We're teaching an amazing women named Angela. She has the strongest faith in Jesus Christ. She left her son in Jamaica to come here and take care of her brother in law, who is in a wheelchair. She wants to stop smoking so bad, so we gave her the "Stop Smoking Workshop" that the church uses. She is going to stop smoking next week, then next step - BAPTISM! Wahooo!

As we were tracting, we found a man named Syed. He is a devote Muslim, but he was really interested about us having a modern day prophet. He came to church yesterday!!!! He is such a nice man. He makes me feel like I'm making a difference in being here because he always says things like "We need more people like you in this world." It's comforting to know that the Spirit is touching people here in Ajax. He is coming to church again next week, and we are teaching him again this week. 

Something that I LOVE about being a missionary is teaching. Sometimes I say things that I wasn't even thinking, but it still came out and sounded perfect. I guess it is possible to have the gift of tongues even when you're speaking Canadian ;)

Here is the best story for the whole week. Some of you will laugh, and some of you will feel like I did - so uncomfortable. Well, we were visiting former investigators, and one of them was in the ghetto of Ajax. When we drove into the little subdivision, there was a group of teenagers hanging out there. Naturally, we went up and started talking to them. They were all so drunk and high. One of the guys, Dom, is only 17 and he kept telling us how "baked" he was. I felt so uncomfortable! Then, to make matters worse. Dom took his shirt off and started doing the running man for us. He then told us that he has a lot of beer for their party tonight and he wanted us to come really bad. He said that we were really cute girls and asked for our number too. Gah! I wanted to leave so bad. Long story short.. we ended up teaching them the restoration, gave several of them a Book of Mormon, and got 3 baptismal dates! Funny how God works, eh? We were with them for probably almost 2 hours. One of the girls, Xania pulled me aside and said that she is trying to change her ways. She has been reading the Bible everyday for the past couple of months. How cool is that! She couldn't come to church yesterday though because she had to go to her grandmas. We'll see how this goes! We have other investigators but nothing much has happened yet. 

The first Sunday in the field was really great. It was actually a missionary farewell, so of course I cried like a baby. The girl is headed to the Utah Provo mission, and she is really cool. Her dad also spoke. He talked about he hopes that the people of Provo embrace his daughter. He then when onto say that he encourages everyone to embrace Sister Stats and I, because he knows that is what our families would want. It was beautiful. 

Just a side note, we have dinner appointments almost every single night!

The ward has about 400 people, but only like 150 come. It's going to take some getting used to being in a small ward. Everyone knows everyone...

Sorry this email isn't as long as my one last week was. I have been spending more time emailing people individually, as I feel like that's what I needed most this week. Living here is Canada has definitely been an adjustment. I already feel like I've grown from leaning on the Lord so much. Without the Lord, I wouldn't be able to do this. It's some tough work. It's a tough world. 

The scripture that got me through this week was - D&C 121:7-9. 

"My son (daughter), peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high thou shalt triumph over all thy foes. Thy friends (family) do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands."

Although I'm going through my own trials and adversities at this time, God is with me. I have felt the loving arms of God wrapped around me this week more than I ever have in my entire life. I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me. I especially love the last verse that talks about my family standing by me. I feel so much love and support from all of you. You all shall hail me again with warm hearts and friends hands:) You aren't going anywhere. What comfort that brings me. 

I made a goal to read the BOM each transfer. I find myself reading all the time.. I can't put it down! Haha. I know that since it brings me so much peace, it can do that same for others. 

Did I mention that I gave away a Book of Mormon to a man on the street! He was so nice. He was just visiting Canada though, so we can't teach him. But at least the seed has been planted!

I love you all so much. I hope everyone has a good/safe week. Remember how much God loves us. He is watching out for all of us and blessing us. I hope you know that I pray for each of you by name every single day, multiple times. I don't have any pictures this week, but I promise I will next week! 

I'm grateful to be part of Helaman's Army. 

All my love, 

Sister Hardcastle

"Get on your knees and pray; then get on your feet and work"

Oh and family members that don't email me... EMAIL ME! Haha you know who you are. xoxo

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