Monday, December 30, 2013

Goodbye 2013...Hello 2014 :)

Dear Family and Friends,

Wow. It's been an amazing year. Can you believe that 2013 is almost over??

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO BRIGHAM AND BECKHAM! I remember the day they were born SO well. What a miraculous day that was for our family.

It was SO amazing to see you all on Christmas. You all look so happy and so healthy. I am so grateful for those 40 minutes that we had together. :) I want to say thank you to everyone for the cards and presents! You are all the best! Christmas in the mission field is definitely special. Christmas Eve and Christmas our mission did a "Read-A-Thon". On Christmas Eve we read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. It was incredible. Then on Christmas we got into the Doctrine and Covenants, and we will do the same thing on New Years Eve and New Years Day. With those four days we will read a total of 26 hours and finish the 4 gospels, D&C and the Pearl of Great Price. Amazing eh? We also do it as a zone, and it has been powerful reading the word of God with dozens of other missionaries. Sister Woolf and I had a Spanish Christmas Eve!! We were able to go to a member's house and she made us tamalees (spelling??). We walked out of that house feeling SO full. We were then able to go see our investigator Ayse. She has the background of Muslim so we went over and shared the story of the birth of Jesus Christ. I think that it is so amazing that we were able to teach that on Christmas Eve. It was one of the most powerful lessons I have ever experienced, and having it on Christmas Eve made it that much better. Christmas Day we spent brunch with the Gravis family and skyped you all at their home. We then went to work, but our car decided to be dumb, and we couldn't get it to turn off. It's one thing to have the car not start, but it's absolutely hilarious when you can't get it to turn off. Haha, our District Leader had to come help us. We had Christmas dinner with the Smith family. It was a huge turkey dinner, and I felt so happy there. The members of the ward here are so amazing!

I wanted to share an experience that Sister Woolf and I had this week that really increased my testimony of listening to the Spirit. We were walking home from an appointment, and it was getting late. It was about 8:45 and we needed to made it back to the apartment by we were walking pretty fast. I saw a man ahead of us and when we got closer to him I reached into my hand to pull out a card to give to him. I got the sickest feeling in my heart and I felt my hand literally pushed to stay in my pocket. I don't know why, but I knew I shouldn't give him a card. We just said hello and kept walking. Sister Woolf then says to me, "He's following us." Yup, my friends, we got followed for quite some time. It was SO scary! I pretended to drop my glove just so I could turn around and see if he was still there, and he was. We didn't know what to do, so we turned down a side street and just booked it. All in all, it was a very scary 20 minutes for us. I am thankful that I listened to the Spirit that night.

Here is something that is so funny. Sister Woolf and I have received $90 EACH in Subway Gift Cards...I think that the ward is trying to tell us something...hahaha I think that the weight that all of you are losing is coming to me...You know what they say - "Your loss is someone else's gain!" Ain't that the truth.

The investigators are coming along. I love them all dearly. 

This week we also had exchanges. I was able to go to the wonderful land of Brampton with the one and only Sister Waldron. This is my 3rd exchange with her, and they have all been amazing. She is honestly a rockstar missionary. Brampton got hit really bad with the ice storm and the whole city looked like a war zone. We were parked under a tree and a huge chunk of ice feel out of it onto our car and it sounded like a bomb. We honestly had to walk on the streets, because ice was falling off of trees everywhere. It looked terrible. OH! Brampton has a street called "Hardcastle Crt" - I'll attach a picture. Neat eh?? Sister Waldron has known me for a long time now. Our first exchange was when I had only been out on my mission for about 3 months. She asked me to tell her how I feel that I have changed since then, which really got me thinking about this past year. So what I thought I would do is highlight the year of 2013!

The year started off perfectly with the text at 12:00 a.m. on January 1st from Bishop Easton telling me that my mission papers had been submitted. The year got wayyy better just a few days later when Brigham and Beckham were born. Not too many days later that wonderful white envelope arrived in the mail. I never thought how much that letter would change my life. January 9th, 2013 was one of the best days of my life. I know that God called me to be in the place that I am in right now. February was unforgettable. Who remembers what happened that month?! I was endowed in the Salt Lake Temple and my WHOLE family was there. I will never forget the Spirit that was there when our whole family was together. I love you all so much...March...I turned the age of 19, which qualified me to be where I am right now. Best timing ever. May...Eli came just in time, which I know was a huge blessing from Heavenly Father! Just a few days later I did the hardest thing I've ever done in my life - I left you all behind to the most precious work of the Lord. That day I left behind the people that are most dear to me, to come to a different country and find the most precious souls. I am eternally grateful for my mission. The following months brought many miracles into our family with Jaclyn and Matt getting settled in Colorado, Lauren getting the teaching job, Landon finding Hannah, Dal and Jess buying a house, etc. The year ended the best way ever with Landon and Hannah sealing the deal. As well as Lauren and Daniel. Can our family be more blessed?? Probably not.

Each and every one of you have touched my life this year. I know that 2/3 of the year I was in Canada, but I have never felt closer to you all. I feel so much love and so much support and for that I am humbled.

My mission has been the highlight of my life so far. The companions, areas, investigators, members, cultures, experiences have greatly increased my understanding of the world. I know that I wouldn't be able to grow in the way I am growing without this experience. I think that that understanding comes because of my greatest love for the gospel and all of my brothers and sisters. I have been able to see the Atonement work within people and a new light come into their life. It is a huge testimony to me of how TRUE and GREAT the work of the Lord is.

I just wanted to end with this scripture - (With a few word changes)

D & C 128:22 - Hardcastle Familyshall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage, family; and on, on to the victory! Let your hearts rejoice, and be exceedingly glad. Let the earth break forth into singing. Let the dead speak forth anthems of eternal praise to the King Immanuel, who hath ordained, before the world was, that which would enable us to redeem them out of their prison; for the prisoners shall go free.

Hardcastle Family, shall we not go on in so great a cause?? I love that. As a brand new year rolls around I want to encourage all of you to go on in this cause. "Consecration is the only form of surrender that also means VICTORY." Courage, family; and on, on to the victory!

So, I'm making it a note to come up with the 2014 Hardcastle Family Motto. What do you think of - "Courage, family; and on, on to the victory" OR "Hardcastle Family, shall we not go on in so great a cause?" Thoughts??

What are your new year's resolutions??

Remember family - "There are lives to brighten. There are hearts to touch. There are souls to save." -President Monson. 

Let's make 2014 one to never forget. It will go by faster than we can I guess I'll see you soon! And I'll talk to you next year. :)

I love you. I love this Gospel. I love my Savior. I love my calling.


Sister Hardcastle

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

Matching Pajamas on Christmas Eve :) 
Christmas Morning :)
Talking to the parents :) 
I think we missed Jackson in this picture...
The Gravis Family :)
Favorite Companion :) Best person to spend Christmas with!
The Smith Family :)
Christmas Day outfit!
Ignore the terrible angle...Hardcastle Crt!!!
Sister Waldron :)
My crazy companion...

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