Monday, June 17, 2013

Week 5 Ajax

Dearest Family and Friends,

Another week come and gone already? Time goes by so fast. Next thing I know I'll be home. Let's not get ahead of ourselves though eh? Haha :)

This week was pretty good. Disappointments of course, but still the most amazing tender mercies. I can't believe how many little miracles you can find throughout the day if you stop to think about it. My advice - SLOW DOWN. Find joy in the little things. 

3 Nephi 13:34 - "Take therefore no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient is the day unto the evil thereof."

Just worry about today, because tomorrow hasn't even happened yet. That's a lesson that I'm slowly starting to learn. Heavenly Father is really good at teaching lessons while on a mission.. He's a smarty :)

I don't think we've ever had so many appointments fall through like we had this week. It was pretty tough. I'll just start with last Monday

Monday - Everything was great because it was P-Day! Which is always great, except when it is pouring rain. We had two appointments that night and they both bombed on us. So what did we do? Tracted. In the POURING rain. How many times am I going to tract in the pouring rain? Probably a lot more, because we did it twice more this week. Hahah being a missionary is so hilarious. When we came home I noticed that they tried to drop the package off. They left that thing for my to sign on the door, and it turns out I would have to pay to receive it. It had to be a check, and of course, I don't have any checks. Well looong story short - I called UPS, payed over the phone, and got the package on Thursday. Quite the ordeal. 

Tuesday - Our shower decided to stop working. I literally took a shower in dripping freezing cold water. Great way to start the day eh? We had our first appointment with a man named Brian. He had requested something through, but anyways he was super mean. All he wanted to do was Bible Bash with us. He didn't even think that we were credible because we had grown up in the church. He thought that this is something that our parents forced upon us. It just wasn't a fun time, and I realized it wasn't fun because the Spirit wasn't there. Then we tracted. A lot. I was complaining (woops) about how thirsty I was. I said a little prayer that we would be able to go get a drink soon. Low and behold.. the next door we knocked on.. she let us in. God is good eh! Her name is Julie and she is in her 60's. The first thing she offered was cranberry juice and her washroom. Prayers answered! We talked for about an hour and had a really good conversation about the Restoration. Her husband came home towards the end, and we set up a time to come back and teach both of them.. I'll get to that story a little later. Every Tuesday we have dinner with the Tunney's. They're the best. We had BBQ spare ribs, and lets just say - I felt at home. Oh man, funny story. Whenever we talk to people and they aren't interested, we always ask if we can give them a card. So I said, "Well, can we at least give you a card?" This grumpy old man looks at me with the evil eye and says, "No, save a dang tree." (Except he didn't say dang) hahaha I couldn't help but laugh as we walked away. People are too funny. 

Wednesday - Wednesdays are always pretty good days because we have District Meeting. I love my District, they're like family. After District meeting we all went to a Greek place for lunch. Dal, you'll like this story. I really wanted a Gyro (Pronounced Hero) But I still said Gyro when I ordered it. I felt so dumb. It reminded me when Jess, You and I went to that place in Provo and I made you order because I was scared to say it. Haha, but the Gyro was quite amazing. We went up to Uxbridge again and met with Eric and Alecia. I don't remember if I ever explained their situation. So they're both still married to other people, working on their divorces. Alecia is a member, Eric is the one we are teaching. But, here's the catch.. They live together WITH Alecia's ex-boyfriend Ryan. So let's just say, the Law of Chastity isn't a priority in their lives. However, Eric quite smoking all on his own. You can already see his life changing. We love meeting with him and he loves meeting with us. It's amazing how much people change when they simply realize that God loves them. He honestly didn't think that God cared about him. When we left that night, Alecia sent us a text telling us how she knew that we were sent here by God to help Eric. Needless to say, my heart melted. This work is so amazing. So worth it. 

Thursday - Boring. Car fast day. Weekly planning. Enough said. BUT I GOT A PACKAGE! It seriously couldn't have come at a better time. I have some pictures that I will attach. I was crying before I had even opened the package because I was so excited. Thank you so much family! I loved reading all of those letters and those pictures were the best. Also, thank you for all the treats, mints, drinks, etc. They are definitely a great blessing:) I am so excited to try those Key Lime cookies. I also can't wait to make the Pistachio pudding!

Friday - Was probably the most exhausting day to date. We taught a Muslim named Hina again. She brought along her friend Sara. Basically, it was a 2.5 hour lesson. They kept telling us they didn't want to hear about our beliefs, but all they wanted to know were the do's and don'ts of our religion. It was interesting. They are very kind people, but are pretty stuck in their own religion. So we'll see. Here's the funny part about this day... we went to an Imperial Buffet for lunch. It was tons of different Asian dishes. So they had KIMCHI! I got some on a plate, along with like 12 Macaroons. I sat in the Restaurant and shed a few tears. How ridiculous is that? I was just thinking about you, Dad, as I stared at the Kimchi. I didn't eat it. And Mom, I was thinking about you with the Macaroons. Those I ate :) I'm sure I've mentioned Syed before.. we taught him again. He has a baptismal date for July 7th. :) We just have to be really careful with Muslims because if they ever go back to their home, they'll get killed for becoming Christians. So I don't really know the process there. It'll be interesting eh?? But we're so excited for him. He came to church yesterday and everything. He texted us after church and said thank you for us finding him. Heart melted again! We taught Jasani again tonight. He is progresing really well. He won't set a baptism date yet because he wants to be 100% sure. Also, we did stop by Angela, and we found out that she has stopped smoking! We're so proud of her. We are meeting with her again tonight. Here is the funny line of today... Me - "Hey how are you?" Man on the street - "You Mormon's can't get me, I'm Jewish!" Ahh man being a missionary rocks!

Satuday - Lots of teaching today. We taught Charles again. He is supposed to be baptized on June 30th, but since he missed church yesterday, the soonest he can be baptized is July 7th. Remember Julie from earlier? The one that let us in and was so nice to us? Well we met with her and her husband, Gavin. He is very religious and very into theology and things like that. We brought along our ward mission leader, Brother Heman's. Thank goodness, he was a life saver! This was about a 3 hour "lesson". Except it was more like an interrogation/discussion than a lesson. We had a notepad and pen out and asked us questions the whole time. He then started bashing Joseph Smith and how he made up the Book of Mormon. He completely tried to tear us apart. When he started doing that, I sat back and started singing hymns in my head. Brother Heman's, Sister Stats, and him were having quite the discussion. I occasionally looked at Julie, and I saw that she felt so bad that her husband was being so rude to us. By the end of it, Sister Stats was in tears and I was sick to my stomach. We left on good terms though, and they gave us a bouquet of flowers. It was actually really discouraging. I felt like I was being ripped apart from the seams and thrown on the floor. I realized that I am going to have times when I feel like that. And you know what? That's okay. I need to experience the smallest ounce of my Savior went through. Yes, I felt rejected, yes I felt disappointed, but I still know what I know. No one can take away from the Testimony that I do have of this restored Gospel. 

Sunday - Church. Church rocks. Father's Day was tough. I was a little bit emotional, but that's just because I've been blessed with the most amazing Father. Love you Dad:) We had two investigators come to church - Syed and Eric. Guess who else showed up to church? President and Sister Scott! Yes I'm serious. It was quite the surprise. It was actually really comforting to see my mission Mom and Dad on Father's day :) We then got invited over last minute for Dinner with a family in the ward. We were so happy! We had fajitas. Yumm. Sister Stats then started feeling really sick so we went home, she slept and I watched The District and cleaned. It was a relaxing day, just like today will be. 

About the Baptisms coming up.. Do you guys remember Katrina? The golden investigator that we found in the area next to ours? Well her baptism is next week, and we aren't allowed to go to it because it's out of our area. It's quite the bummer, but at least she is getting baptized! As far as Xania goes, she is so busy and never makes it to church. So we continue to push her baptism date back. Just keep praying!

Tomorrow we have a Zone Conference and I also am going on my first exchange! Exciting!

I've had a lot of time these past few days to think back on my life. Reflect on all of the things that have led me to this point. All of the events that took place that were preparing me for a mission, even when I didn't know it. I'm so humbled and grateful for the knowledge that Heavenly Father has a unique, special and perfect plan for each of His children. It's definitely a beautiful and tough journey. It reminds me of something that I heard in the MTC - "Every single thing that you go through is preparing you to have joy". That brings me a lot of comfort. I think back to the first two weeks here in Canada. Man, those times were so hard. Times are still so hard. Yet now, I know my purpose. I had to get knocked down so that I could stand up even stronger. I had to be at my lowest so I couldn't know what it feels like to be at my highest. This mission that I've been on for a month and a half has taught me SO much. I don't think I understood the importance of this Gospel. This Gospel is pure. It is precious. It is perfect. It changes lives, including our own. Being a missionary is indeed the greatest calling in the world. Have a great week!

"Have Faith, Have Hope, Live like His Son, Help Others on Their Way"

All my love, 

Sister Hardcastle
Not the best quality picture ... sorry  :)
Loved the poem  :)

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