Monday, March 24, 2014

The Big 20!!

Dear Family and Friends, 

Thank you so much for all of the birthday wishes this week! You are all the best. I would just like to wish Daniel a Happy Birthday! Pretty cool that we share a birthday eh?

As I approach my birthday this year, it really makes me think back to what I was doing a year ago. I had a mission call, I was only 18, and I was terrified and excited to depart to Canada. Holy moly. This has been an amazing year. I haven't spent a whole year in Canada yet, but in some ways I feel like this is my home. Most of you do not know the culture of Canada, but let me tell you - it is very different than the states, in particular to Utah. It didn't take me long to adjust though. It also didn't take me long to fall in love with the people, places, and the beauty of Canada. I just love it. 

Where to start with this past week....

JACKIE CUSHNIE WAS BAPTIZED YESTERDAY! I was very sad that I wasn't there, but I am just so grateful that she was baptized. I miss them very much, but I know I am in the right place. Apparently the baptism went really well, and Iain even played the bagpipes at it. So cool! Their plan is to get sealed as a family in a year....hopefully in the Salt Lake Temple. And I will be there. 

We found a pretty sweet new investigator this week. I started talking to him on the street, and he knows the "sisters" pretty well. He asked when we were going to go see him, so we made an appointment and were able to teach him a bit. His girlfriend who lives forever away just joined the Mormon church so he is very open. We're excited to work with him. 

The young girls that we are working with set a date to be baptized on April 17th, but their mom didn't allow them to come to church this week. It could be difficult. Pray for Katelynn and Michaela!

We saw a lot of recent converts and less-actives this week. We are really focusing on finding through members, as we know it is what the branch needs to grow right now. The recent converts here are amazing, and I know I've said that a lot now....but I just love them. One of them, Steve, just got called to be the Young Men's President! Tonight we are going to have a FHE with some recent converts, Lynda and Sandy Thompson. Sandy is Lynda's son, and they are just the best. 

Napanee rocks. 

Funny story. We were lying in bed the other night sooo exhausted and we were talking about how long Sister Sears has been in Napanee (over 9 months), and I told her that she is probably going to name her first child Napanee....Then it got me thinking....why don't I just name my first child Ajax? Then the next one Woodstock?? Then Hamilton? Then Napanee? Can you imagine? Okay, maybe it isn't that funny. But I thought it was. :)

Guess who got to hear from Elder Bednar this past week? This girl!! We drove to Brampton on Friday night and stayed with some spanish Sisters because the meeting with Elder Bednar on Saturday morning started early. Every single missionary in the Canada Toronto Mission was there. Do you realize how insane that is? President Scott had to get special permission. Some missionaries way up north had to drive over 8 hours to get there. It was so worth it though. The meeting was opened with us all singing Redeemer of Israel....the Spirit was so strong. We're talking 300+ missionaries, with our mission president, an apostle, several members of the seventy, a member of the presiding bishopric, etc. So crazy cool. Then Elder Bednar addressed us for 3 hours or so. It was incredible. A very special experience happened there that I want to try to relate to you all - 

There was a segment of the meeting that was a question and answer type thing. Many missionaries would ask questions and Elder Bednar would answer beautifully of course. Well, a Filipino Elder raised his hand, and stood to speak. I was just a few rows behind him, but I had a hard time figuring out what he was saying. He started to cry and Elder Bednar looked like he was going to cry, too. All I heard the Elder say was "I need someone to tell me that I can do this." Elder Bednar came down from the stand and went down to the Elder and gave him the biggest hug. He then grabbed the Elder's shoulders, looked him straight in the eye and said - "Elder, I came to Toronto today to tell you that you can do this." At this point, everyone is crying. Elder Bednar then gave him another big hug. It was priceless. 

I learned so much at the meeting, but I will just share something that stood out to me the most. Elder Bednar pointed out how the most faithless prayer involves something like this "Please bless all those who are not here this week, that they will come next week." We need to ACT AND GO GET THEM that are not here this week. He said that he has never sat in a meeting when someone has said an action filled prayer about helping to get people back to church. It was a huge eye opener to me. All of you who have been missionaries know that as missionaries we pray. All the time. I have noticed that sometimes my prayers are not action based prayers. Something to think we ask for something from Heavenly Father and just expect to get it?? Or are we going to show Him how much we want it by acting?

Well family. You are all amazing. I love hearing from you so so much. Thank you for all of your support and prayers. I feel them, I truly do. I know that the Lord is with me, walking beside me and strengthening me everyday. I could not do this without Him, for it is His work and I am simply His agent. I love it more and more each day. 

I love you all!!


Sister Hardcastle

"Have Faith, Have Hope, Live Like His Son, Help Other's On Their Way"

My new glasses! I love them!

Happy St. Patrick's Day Outfit!!! 
Napanee is so beautiful! 
Sister Sears and I. She's like my big sista :)
The earrings that Jackie Cushnie gave me - I wore them on her special day :)
Elder and Sister Rock <3 so funny
The cereal that keeps me going... 
Jackie and Tim at Jackie's baptism!!

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