Wednesday, September 4, 2013

September, eh?

Dear Family and Friends, 

Happy Birthday tomorrow to the one and only Elder Cottam! Love you :) I'm sure birthdays in the mission field are the bomb.

Why oh why is time going by so quickly? I'm coming up on four months and it's scary to think about. I miss you all, but I love Canada. 

Last night I got a letter from my Momma Barb and in was this poem - 

"A mission is a strange experience
It is a trial and a test. 
A mission throws at you the worst
Yes, teaches you the best. 
I've never been so happy,
I've never been so depressed. 
I've never felt so forsaken, 
I've never felt so blessed. 
I've never been so confused, 
Thanks have never been so clear. 
I've never felt my Heavenly Father so distant, 
He's never been so near. 
I've never been so discouraged, 
I've never been so full of hope. 
I feel I could go on for forever, 
I think I've come to the end of my rope. 
I've never had it quite so easy, 
I've never had it quite so tough.
Things have never been so smooth, 
Thanks have never been so rough. 
I've never traveled through more valleys, 
I've never ascended more peaks.
I've never met so many nice people, 
I've never met so many freaks!
I've never had so many ups, 
I've never had so many downs. 
I've never worn so many smiles, 
I've never had so many frowns. 
I've never been so lonely, 
I've never had so many friends. 
BOY, I hope this is over soon,
Gosh, I hope this never ends."

That poem sums up all of the emotions I've felt these past few months. I love it!

We had Zone Conference yesterday and it was incredible. President Scott talked to us about stretching past our comfort zone. I loved it because almost everything about a mission is uncomfortable. I've come to learn that if you're not uncomfortable you're doing something wrong. If every single missionary were to stay in their comfort zone, there would never be any growth. What would be the point of that eh? Something that he said hit me so hard. You all know how much I love Disneyland. Well President Scott bluntly said - "You don't ever grow at Disneyland. Disneyland is easy. No one ever has a bad day at Disneyland." I laughed, but it is so true. True growth and true conversion to the Gospel comes after much trial, testing and stretching the comfort zone. I always leave those meetings on a spiritual high!  

Lisa and her daughter Lissy are really progressing. They both came to church on Sunday and loved it. Lissy even went to Young Woman's. The lesson in Gospel Principle was on tithing, so Lisa had LOTS of questions afterwards, but she is doing really well. Her husband said he would come to church with them, and last minute changed his mind. We just keep praying for his heart to be softened. Timing is everything. 

We had a hard experience this week. Jason was found when Sister Anderson was with her last companion. He is hard to get a hold of, but he is so great. He didn't come to church two weeks ago when he said he was going to, so last week we just dropped by to see how he was doing. He said something came up, and he for sure was going to come this week. He seemed so sincere. We ended up sharing with him the Plan of Salvation right then, and he seemed so prepared. He talked about how his wife wasn't into him doing this, but that he knew he needed to learn more. We left thinking that he was all set for church the next day. He wanted us to give him a call on Sunday at 9 just to make sure he was up. Well we did that, and he proceeded to tell us to never call or stop by again, then he hung up. It's heart wrenching when something like that happens, but when he is ready, he'll start to show more of a desire. 

Selena and her girls didn't come to church either. WHY DON'T PEOPLE JUST COME TO CHURCH!? It's so hard not to get frustrated. So I just laugh and trust God.  :)

Jacquelline and Bill are two of our investigators. They feed us more than the members do. It's so sad. Anyways, Jac looks just like Jac. That sounds confusing, but you all know what I mean. I'll have to take a picture with her. They are both baptists, and Bill is really involved in his church. So, we've been taking things really slow with them. We decided to watch the Restoration video. I love that video so much, it always brings in the Spirit. When we were talking afterwards about it I asked Bill what this would mean to him if it were to be true. He sat there for a minute, in complete silence, then he said "I guess that would mean that I'm changing religions." Music to my ears! I sure do love them. 

Anthony and Jalei are recent converts that were baptized when Sister Stats was here in Woodstock. They are brothers, Anthony is 10 and Jalei is 9. They finally came to church on Sunday! It's been a while since they've come. When they got to the church, they got out of the car and ran up and hugged Sister Anderson and I. Then after church when we were saying bye to them they kept asking us when we are coming over again. I love being a missionary!

I had a very special experience last night. Percy is a man that we found on the street. He actually lives about 5 hours away from Woodstock, but works here during the week. I think I may have mentioned him in the last email, I'm not sure. Well we met with him again last night at the library. We had planned to teach him the plan of salvation, but he hadn't been reading the Book of Mormon, so we read 2 Nephi 2 with him. After we had finished the lesson, I bore testimony to him of all of the things we had read. I told him that the first step for him to make it to the celestial kingdom is for him to be baptized. We invited him to be baptized in the first lesson, but he wasn't into it, so I knew that this invitation had to be different. The Spirit was so strong, and after I said -"Percy will you follow the example of Jesus Christ, your Savior, by being baptized by someone holding the Priesthood Authority of God?" the room was silent. He stared at my intently and after about 30 seconds of silence he said - "You really believe this don't you?" With tears rolling down my face and I told him "Yes. I know all of this to by true." He agreed to be baptized. This is his last week in Woodstock though, so we're going to pass him off to different missionaries. That is an experience that I will never forget. His countenance changed, and the Spirit touched his heart. I love this Gospel!

That about sums up our week. We've been focusing lots on our investigators and less actives. We have been so blessed with 22 investigators in our teaching pool. Also, we're leading our District:) Hard work pays off eh?! We don't even have time to knock on doors!  :) 

I hope everyone has a great week, and I'll email again on Monday. I love you all!

Sister Hardcastle

Heaven :)

Our view! Breathtaking!!

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