Monday, June 10, 2013

Week 4 Ajax

Hello Family and Friends, 

Wow. Week 4. I've been gone over a month. Time is such a strange phenomenon here on a mission. There are times when I feel like I'm never coming home. Then I look at my planner and I realize that I'm almost done with my first transfer. It's definitely going by faster and faster as I adjust more. I didn't think that being a missionary would become such a part of me so quickly. But man, it has. Sometimes I just look down at my name tag and smile. "How great is my calling". 

I don't have many complaints. But I have a few.....

1. It's still cold here. Currently.. it's pouring rain. 
2. I'm already sounding like a Canadian. I'm worried for what it's going to be like in 17 months from now
3. So, they call bathrooms, washrooms. It took me awhile to catch onto that. But it bother's me, because I will ask, "Could I use your bathroom?" And they look at me like I'm from another planet. Then they say, "You mean washroom?" And I nod, very embarrassed. Canadians are weird. 

Enough with complaints, here's something funny - Since Ajax has so many Jamaicans, we have renamed it "Jamajax" :) haha it cracks me up. Also, Tim Horton's is probably the great thing ever. It has 95 cent donuts! Score!

This week was a fantastic week. The Lord has given my companion and I so many tender mercies. We had 9 member present lessons this week. 9!! The standards is 4. We are being so blessed. The ward members here love us. I really do feel so warmed and welcomed. Although this is still so hard, and I have to fight every single day, I'm getting happier and happier. Whoever said, "Forget yourself and go to work" was so so right ;) 

Last Tuesday, I got a lot out of personal study. I was studying the will of God. I thought I would share some things with all of you. It really helped me remember that we need to dedicate our lives to God. 

John 5:30 - "I can of my own self do nothing..because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me."
Hebrews 10:36 - "For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise."
Moses 4:2 - "....Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever."

Those are just a few of the scriptures that stuck out to me and reminded me that we always need to do God's will. 

Onto the fun part, investigators....

I don't remember how much I've told you about certain investigators so bear with me. 

Syed - We thought that he fell off the face of the earth because we couldn't get ahold of him, and was never home when we stopped by. Well, we felt prompted to go to his house, and there he was. Turns out-we had the wrong number! Gah so frustrating. But we met with him again this week. He loves meeting with us. He says that we are the two most beautiful girls. It's kinda creepy/funny/nice. But he's a great guy. He didn't come to church yesterday though because he had to work. He also doesn't want to commit to being baptized until he knows for sure (well duh!). 

Jasani - I think I've mentioned him. He's the great family man, who has lost a child. We taught him the Plan of Salvation this past week. Holy cow, it was so powerful. I could barely hold back the tears. When I invited him to be baptized he said yes, but he's thinking really hard about what date to pick. AND to top it all off he came to church yesterday. Sister Stats was giving a talk to I sat by him. He LOVED it. Funny story though. Get ready because you're all going to laugh your heads off. When the second speaker got up, she started with "Good morning Brothers and Sisters" and Jasani said, "Good Morning" back. Hahahah I'm laughing so hard just typing it. It was too funny. He was so embarrassed. He didn't say it loud, but loud enough for the people around us to hear. Poor guy, he was laughing about it afterwards though. Anyways, we have really good feelings about him. We really want to teach his wife too. They're a beautiful family. 

Angela - She hasn't quite smoking yet, because she hasn't finished her current pack that she's on. She says once she's done, she going to quit.We showed her the restoration video just this past Saturday. She cried the whole time and told us how good she felt. Then she starting dancing and singing. It was so funny. She is almost there and I just love her. She told me that she's going to be really sad when I leave. Ahhh man being a missionary rocks. 

Katrina - remember her? The golden one from Pickering? Well turns out we couldn't teach her, so the YSA elders are teaching her. She is still set for baptism on June 23rd! Ahh man I can't wait. Fun story about her-our whole district was a part of finding her. The Whitby Elders decided to do the Blitz on that date that we found her. The Pickering Elders chose which streets to do. Sister Stats and I knocked on her door. The Oshawa Elders are now teaching her. So our whole district was involved. Such a miracle. 

Riley - She's new. She is Sister Pay's granddaughter. Sister Pay is a single lady who looks just like Janine Patch. It's freaky how much they look and act alike! I just adore her. Anyways, her 12 year old granddaughter has been coming to church with her for awhile now, and just loves it. We were able to go meet with her and Sister Pay yesterday. We taught her the restoration in a very simple way, which I loved. She has already been reading in the Book of Mormon and knows that it's true. We were reading the second to last paragraph in the introduction to the Book of Mormon and she read about halfway and started crying. She couldn't finish, so she handed the book to Sister Pay, who was also crying. The Spirit was so strong. I asked her how she felt and the only word she could get out of her mouth was "Good". My heart melted. This is the joy that has been spoken of. Things like this make all the hard times worth it. She wants to be baptized so badly, but she needs to get permission from her parents. She is really scared to talk to her parents about it, she's only 12! But I know that through prayer, her parent's hearts can be softened, and she will be baptized. She reminds me a lot of Ashlyn. 

We are teaching other people, but nothing too crazy has happened with them yet. All I know is I love finding people on the street and simply starting a conversation about God. It is interesting how many people open up to us and tell her their live story. 

We had zone training this past week, it was quite fun. Also, I tried Poutine. I had the whole restaurant watching as I tried it... and I LOVED it! I'll attach a picture. 

We went to a city called Uxbridge this past week, look it up, it's beautiful. We went to visit some less actives. One in particular, the Brazier's. They live in the most beautiful area in the woods. The whole drive reminded me of the cabin. When we got there, she started a fire for us and we sat by the fire and drank orange juice. It was the most adorable thing! I felt so at home. I'll attach a picture of that too. 

Well everyone, the church is true. The church is SO true. I see little miracles every single day. This is the hardest yet best thing I could be doing. I love waking up each morning, not even tired, ready to take on the day. I love getting into bed each night, so exhausted, knowing that I gave the Lord everything that I had that day. I've been truly so blessed with health and comfort here. 

I challenge all of you to read the Book of Mormon daily. This book has saved my life in the past several weeks. I love diving into it and learning something new every single day. God is good. God is so so good. I love you all and miss you every single day. Thank you for the prayers on my behalf. They are felt. Make it a good week!

Happy Father's Day on Sunday to all my Father figures out there. Especially to you Daddio! You're the greatest and I love you so much!

Happy Blessing Day to my sweet Eli on Sunday as well. Your aunt Rinney wishes she could be there, but she's there in spirit! 

Happy Birthday to Riley Woolstenhulme tomorrow! 

All my love, 

Sister Hardcastle

To all my returned missionaries who are reading this - shoot me an email with a few words of advice! I love getting advice and I would really appreciate it. 

Also, on June 30th I'm speaking in Sacrament about "Standing as a Witness of Christ" so ideas/talks/quotes/etc would be much appreciated. 

French Fries + Gravy + Cheese = Crazy Canadians
Most relaxing thing ever.

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