Monday, July 22, 2013

It's me again - Week 9, I think...

Hello family and friends,

First and foremost - - - I would like to welcome Elsie Cottam to the world! Congrats to my new sweet baby cousin. 

I'm so glad that everyone had such a great safe week. I hope that this week everyone stays safe again with their travels for the 24th of July. 

I would just like to say a few things - 

1. Cold showers are terrible.
2. Loosing your camera is so sad. (Sorry Mom and Dad)
3. Canada is so hot. 
4. I wear the same 5 outfits over and over again. Hahah
5. I got about 12 bug bits on my feet this week, they are gnarly! (I have pictures but no camera, lol)

This week was a pretty great week. TREVOR IS GETTING BAPTIZED IN 6 DAYS! Woot woot! SO much to say about Trevor - -

Last Sunday/Monday, he had a really hard time. All of his friends are Anti-Mormon because of Family Guy and things like that. They all told him that they didn't want anything to do with him anymore. He took it really rough, and was really scaring us with how sad he was. We scheduled for him to have a Priesthood blessing because He needed more help than we could give him. After the Priesthood blessing you could seriously see the change in his countenance. He had that light back in his eyes. He described that he felt that there was a physical weight lifted off of his shoulders. Ever since that night, he's been doing so well. He has a hard time realizing that he does deserve the happiness that the Gospel brings.  I had an incredible experience when I was talking with him last week. Sister Stats, Trevor and I were sitting outside the church (We couldn't go in - stupid rules) and he was expressing his doubts about not being good enough for this. I had such a strong feeling in my heart that I needed to just tell him one of my experiences when I realized how much God loved me. Testifying to Trevor about how much God loves him brought tears to my eyes. I just had tears rolling down my face, and when I looked at Trevor, I could see his eyes light up even more. I didn't even feel like it was me speaking, but the words were just coming out of my mouth perfectly. I don't even know if how I'm describing this makes ANY sense at all, but it was an amazing experience. He is getting interviewed by the DL on Wednesday, and the baptism is all set for Sunday at 1:00 :) By the way, the baptismal font in this chapel is SO little. We'll see how it goes... I'm so humbled and grateful to my Heavenly Father for giving me the chance to witness and be apart of Trevor's transformation. This isn't my baptism by any means, it's God's baptism. But He allowed me to take part in that, and it's the most fulfilling feeling in the world. 

Funny story, Trevor is so nervous about his baptism, and didn't want a lot of people there. Well Saturday night when we were meeting with him, he said that whoever in the ward wants to come, can come. So Sister Stats and I took that as permission to invite everyone.. Sooo that's what we did :) After church yesterday, Trevor was so overwhelmed because everyone was going up to him congratulating him and telling him that they'll be at his baptism next week. Hahahah, poor guy. The whole ward was invited, and I think that is exactly what he needs. It was just so funny because he was so nervous about it to begin with, now 70 or more people will probably be there.  :) 

Okay so remember how I mentioned earlier how hot Canada is? Well, the other day it was 36 degrees C plus humidity. Our ZL told us that it felt like 120 degrees F. I DON'T WANT ANY OF YOU TO EVER COMPLAIN OF HEAT AGAIN! Hahah, I am so tan though. But you seriously walk outside and you are immediately damp and sticky. Not my thing. 

We were able to go on an exchange this week.. well sorta. One of the STL's just came with Sister Stats and I so we were in a tripanionship. Her name is Sister Fabiano from Utah, and she is just about to head home from her mission. She was so great to work with for a day, and helped me realize my potential! She told me that she didn't know I was in training until we told her, which I guess is a compliment.  :)

We were able to teach Cassandra twice this week. She is the one who lives in Scarborough, but we got permission to teach her here in Ajax :) Last night she brought her two daughters to the lesson. Riquelle and Monique :) they both have baptismal dates for the same day as Cassandra - August 18th! It's super exciting because each area has a goal to baptize a family by September 29th, 2013. So Riquelle is 9 and she reminds me SO much of Brynn. Last night, we were asking her why she agreed to meet with us. Guess what she said? She was like, "I guess it's because I want to become a Mormon." Hahah I just got a big grin on my face. Monique is 15, and is really shy, but she is so sweet and has such a sweet Spirit about her. Oh, another thing Riquelle asked, "Does God have a parent?" She is seriously just like Brynn, asks all of these questions that I can't even answer. We watched The Restoration video with them last night and the Spirit was so strong. I love the times when the Spirit is so evident, that you can literally scoop it out of the air.  

Man I have to tell you about one of my proudest moments of my mission so far. We have been getting so close to dropping Angela, the eternal investigator, but something keeps us holding on. We were discussing 3 Nephi 18 and the importance of church. She was being so stubborn about it, going through the same routine she always does, making excuses for why she can't come. We're really close with her now though, so we laid down the line. We basically told her to stop making excuses. Here is where my proud moment comes in - I asked her if she thought that coming to church was a commandment. She paused for a little bit, then she said yes. Well, what did I do? I pulled out John14:15 - If ye love me, keep my commandments. When I asked her if she would read it, she couldn't speak because it hit her so hard. After she was finally able to read it, something clicked in her head. She committed to come to church next Sunday - and if she doesn't come, we're going to drop her. I really don't want to do that though.. she has so much potential. I've realized though, that we need to focus our time on the people who will act and who do want this in their lives. 

Oh man, another story. We were teaching Trevor about tithing and fast offerings. When we asked him if he would commit to do those things after he was baptized he responded, "I can't start on Sunday?" HE IS SO PREPARED! My jaw just dropped. He's all for every single commandment, and has no problem with anything.. he even bought Sister Stats and I a 25$ gift card to the restaurant that we met him outside of. He also wrote us the sweetest card thanking us for all that we have done for him. We have to keep reminding him that it's God, not us. 

OH! Lauren, there is this member in the ward that is exactly like you. She is obsessed with history and doing her nails. She has 3 crates full of nail polish. Duplicates of certain colors even. We were having dinner at her house and we made the mistake of asking her what her favorite history story is. She went off for about 15 about Henry the 8th or something. Haha, but she is seriously exactly like you. Glasses and all.

We had the monthly movie night at the church on Friday. We watched The Testaments, and that movie always gets me crying haha. Trevor was there, and he said that he just had chills the whole time. It's truly amazing all of this knowledge that we have. We know that Christ lives and that He will come again to redeem us. Saturday was such a great day. We didn't knock a single door -HALLELUJAH :) We were able to do a lot of service! We helped a family in the ward move and went to a soup kitchen in Oshawa. It was so much fun to go to the soup kitchen with the other missionaries and serve others. We were there for most of the day, but came back to teach Trevor and go to dinner at a members house. We are being so blessed with busy schedules here in Ajax. We are trying our best to be too busy to tract - and God is definitely helping us with that. 

I just want to end this week by saying thank you to all of you. Thank you for the emails, occasional letters (hint hint) but most importantly - the prayers. I feel them each and every day. Somehow I receive the strength to make it through the day when I wake up with a throbbing headache, or sore muscles, etc. I wouldn't be able to do this without the faith from all of you, and Heavenly Father blessing me. As I'm out in the mission field longer and longer, I realize more and more things. You can be told something over and over again, but until you apply it and believe it, it's useless. I can be told that all the work starts with loving the people, but that means nothing unless I truly love the people. I can be told that practice makes me a better teacher, but that means nothing unless I practice. It's been one of those weeks where I'm grateful for all of the mistakes that I make. They've taught me some HUGE lessons this week. One of those lessons being that I just need to do my best. Every missionary has been chosen by God to be where they are. Which means, God will qualify them. God will make His work go on, even with my mistakes. That is the most humbling thing in the world. We will all make mistakes, but God is so loving and so amazing that He still helps us through it. Never forget that!

I have felt inspired to leave you all with the same challenge we leave to every member - The Book of Mormon Challenge. I have probably brought this up before, but I've upgraded it. I want all of you reading this - yes all of you - to give away a Book of Mormon by August 11th. That gives you 3 weeks! Who's in? Here is how you do it -

1. Pray with faith. Pray with a purpose. Ask God to help you have the strength to give away a Book of Mormon. Ask Him to put people in your paths, etc. 
2. Make a list. Write down people that come into your mind, ideas, etc. 
3. Strengthen your own testimony of the book. Enough said. 
4. Write your testimony in the cover. 
5. Start a gospel discussion. If it is someone that you are close with, simply say, "You know what? I want to show you something that means a lot to me, and brings me so much joy. This book has brought me peace in the hardest of times." Or something like that. If it's someone that you are close with, and they see how much something means to you, they will have interest. That I can promise. 
6. Bear your testimony to the person you're giving the book to. Then give them the book, and challenge them to start reading it. 

I know you can all do it! I do it everyday, and it's not hard. It's AMAZING! I'll be following up... ;)

I love you all. Make it a great week! Happy 24th of July!

"Have Faith, Have Hope, Live Like His Son, Help Others On Their Way"

Sister Hardcastle

P.S. There are no pictures this week because I lost my camera. Sorry!

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