Friday, July 8, 2016

Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen

Good morning sports fans,

This is it. Your last e-mail from a rainy Nagoya P-Day. This is the
close to my 23 month adventure of a lifetime. It started in Provo,
Utah in the MTC for 2 months, then I was assigned to serve in 豊田
(Toyota) for the first 8 months in Japan with four different
companions. From 豊田 I was reassigned to labor in the beautiful city of
松本 (Matsumoto) for 5 months with three different companions. And then
from 松本 I was transferred to 名古屋 (Nagoya) where I served in two
different parts of the city; one being 野並 (Nonami) for 3 months and 名東
(Meito) for 6 months with one companion in 野並 and two in 名東.

I've worked/biked in cold, pouring rain of winter, the semi-cold rain
of spring, the hot rain of summer, and back to semi-cold rain of fall.
I've sweated gallons of sweat in the muggy grossness of summertime and
most of all my shirts are yellow now. I've had to work and live with
(sometimes endure) all sorts of different personalities from all walks
of life. I've had to be motivated, I've had to motivate others, and have
had to train others how to motivate others. I've had to learn how to
give counsel, guidance, and direction and conversely reprimand,
correct, and solve others' problems. I've had to do this all while
following a very specific set of rules and learned about myself as I
strived to follow them and help others follow them as well. I've seen
failure and I've seen success and everything in between. I've become
able to speak one of the most difficult languages in the world and
it took a lot of patience and trial and error.

I know I didn't serve in a third world country and my missionary problems
to some didn't ever seem that grand but by being in a first world,
highly developed country I learned the importance of spiritual things.
I feel that missionaries who serve in third world
countries/underdeveloped countries gain a huge appreciation for
material things and become ever grateful for the things that they have
back home that the people they serve don't have. Meanwhile,
missionaries in highly developed countries like Japan can feel and see
the spiritual "deadness" of the people we serve. We gain a great
appreciation for the gospel and the spiritual knowledge that we
treasure and endeavor to share.

Probably the greatest thing I have learned in my two years is the
Gospel of Jesus Christ. I've learned how to have faith and have hope for a
brighter future. I've come to learn how to repent and turn away from
the wrongs I've done and how we can all "arise from the dust...and be
men" (2 Nephi 1:21). I've seen how the ordinances of baptism and
confirmation bring joy and happiness to those who are seeking to
follow Christ and obey the will of our Father in Heaven. I have come
to learn that if we endure to the end and continue to follow God's
commandments we will be blessed and will be happy. I know that through
the Atonement of Jesus Christ we can change who we are and become
better people. God wants us to grow and develop and He rejoices when
we do so.

I've come to love this Asian island in the Pacific called Japan. The
Land of the Rising Sun is not a nation without problems, but I've come
to accept it and learn to love it. I learned to love the people and
their little quirks. The food is fantastic and the culture runs deep.
This culture is one that is hundreds of years old and is competing
against a changing world and has somewhat of an identity crisis. It's
been so much fun to learn about their history and lifestyle and I will
forever be affected because of my two years in Japan.

I come home next week on Tuesday morning. It still doesn't feel quite
real yet, but as I've been packing my bags the reality sets in. I'd be
lying if I said I wasn't excited to come home. I am super excited to
see you all again and start working on the next phase of life. It's
been so much fun to be sending e-mails to friends and family for the
past three years (including USAFA). I think when I get home I'm going
to stop doing weekly emails and start a blog. I don't know if any of
you are interested in following my story, but I'll let you all know
how to access it once it's made. Thanks for reading and all your
support through the years. I'll see you when I get back!

さようなら! また逢うまで!

Godspeed and Angels,

Elder Hardcastle


Mathew 25:21

21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant:
thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over
many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

Last 英会話

Saying bye to Katsuki

My recycle shop friends

John Gathright and I

 Picking up Baldwin in 岡崎

Saturday, July 2, 2016

X Dayz Lepht

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Aww Shiz

Good morning Sports Fans,

Right now I am writing you as I sit on a train headed for SHIZuoka.
Today we have a zone conference out there and afterwards our new
missionary musical group, ザ・モルモンショー (The Mormon Show, playing off the
word for Book of Mormon in Japanese) has a gig and then I will be
returning back to the 本部 tonight, so no P-Day for this guy (again). You
all maybe wondering, "Why are you taking the train and not driving
your van?" But that's a story for a little later.

Last Saturday "The Mormon Show" had their first concert in 名東 (Meito)
and it was a huge success. Around 177 people came from both stakes
here in the Nagoya. I got to see one and talk to one of my favorite
members from 豊田 (Toyota) named 三島兄弟 (Brother Mishima). He was one of
the first members I met here in Japan and we became really good
friends. We were talking before the concert and I told him how long
it's been since I was in 豊田 and then I told him that I was going home in
three weeks. He looked completely shocked and started to tear up. He
told me that all of the members in 豊田 thought that I was going to come
back and finish the last transfer of my mission over there. I was
surprised at his reaction of me going home and was kind of touched. I
didn't quite realize that the members there actually cared enough
about me to want me back. I mean I knew a couple of the members wanted
me to return, but not the majority. After the concert another 豊田
member came up to me and gave me a referral who came to the concert
with them who lives in my area who is his less active daughter's
boyfriend. We were able to discuss a time to meet and should start
lessons soon. I am so blessed to have served in that wonderful area
that I used to complain so much about.

On Sunday we tried to visit 椿 (Tsubaki) and see if we could get her to
talk to us again. I decided measures were drastic so I decided to make
pikelettes (pancake medallions with chocolate inside-I learned how to
make them from Anthony Butters) for her. We biked out to her apartment
in the pouring rain and when we got there she cracked the door open,
looked at us, and then just looked down crying shaking her head and
closed the door. I, not wanting to be defeated, tried writing a note
for her in polite Japanese and left the Tupperware of pikelettes at
her door. We still haven't heard from her.

This week we had two zone conferences, one on Tuesday and the other on
Thursday, in 福徳 (Fukutoku) and 四日市 (Yokkaichi). Both were really good
and I've worked a lot with those ZL's  on my mission. In 福徳 I went
on a split with Elder Farias who finishes his mission on the same day
that I do. He's from São Paulo, Brazil and we have been friends
most of the mission. The highlight of that night was the four of us
(the ZLs and us) went to a churasco place in their area. Churasco is
skewered, Brazilian BBQ (like Rodizio Grill in SLC).  It was way good
and expensive but so worth it. In 四日市 I was able to go on an exchange
with Elder Jenks from Hyde Park, UT in good old Cache Valley. We were
able to teach several lessons together which was a lot of fun and it
was a neat experience to teach with another guy from Cache Valley.

Yesterday we finished our exchange in 四日市 and we were asked if we
could go help move an old fridge out of 瀬戸 (Seto). Our plan was to
meet up with the 瀬戸 elders up at their district meeting in 中津川
(Nakatsugawa). 中津川 is up in the mountains and we had a great DTM and
afterwards started heading home in the van and I was driving. It was
lightly raining as we drove down out of the mountains. As I was
driving I saw in front of me a car cut in front of the car that was in front of
me. That car had to slow down rather unexpectedly and then I tried
pressing my brakes. That's when everything went completely wrong. When
I pressed my brakes, the pedal locked and I couldn't stop. I have
never hydroplaned before, but I went into a skid and I think I was
hydroplaning and couldn't stop. I told the other three in the car that
we weren't going to be able to stop and banged into the SUV in front
of us going probably 50 kph. To make a long story short, I totaled the
front end of my van, but surprisingly (and kind of scarily) our
airbags didn't go off. No one was hurt in either vehicle and the
vehicle I hit barely had a scratch on in. We got out of the vehicle
and the rain, of course, just started pouring and I started making all
the necessary phone calls after an accident. The worst part of the day
was dealing with a police officer who was rather impatient and
racist. He was telling me it was all my fault and was telling the
other cop I couldn't speak Japanese. After a while of talking to them
and explaining my situation he finally relaxed a little bit. In the
end my van was towed away and 石井 (Ishii) came and picked us up and
took us home. The biggest miracle of the day was that no one was hurt
and we all got home safe.

So that is why I'm on a train this morning. Since we lost our van and
the police told me I can't drive until their reports are done, there
wasn't room to ride in the car and I couldn't drive, so I woke up
early with Elder Graydon and we headed off on our adventure at 0600
this morning. It's super fun to talk with Elder Graydon because he's a
Geordie from Gateshead, UK and Dad served in his Ward when he was on
his mission. Graydon's been teaching me Geordie and been quizzing me
to see how much I learned from Dad. It's way fun.

That's about all the excitement for the week. I'm just going to try to
stay in one piece for these last two weeks. I've had way too many
close calls recently. Everyone stay safe out there!




Pic 1- Churasco!

Pic 2- Me, DeSpain, Jones, Farias

Pic 3- ザ・モルモンショー (The Mormon Show)

Pic 4- Bit crunched

Pic 6- Me wearing Graydon's Geordie shirt

Pic 7- Graydon and I coming home from our adventure tonight

Friday, June 17, 2016


Hey folks,

Well a lot of things happened since last Saturday so I've got a lot of
explaining to do.  Last Saturday we met with both of our investigators
椿 (Tsubaki) and David and both of those lessons didn't end quite as
planned. First we taught 椿 with three members at the church during
which we taught about two commandments, the Word of Wisdom (a
commandment of health where we don't intake coffee, tea, alcohol, etc)
and tithing (a commandment where we donate 10% of our income to
support the church and it's activities such as building new churches,
temples, helping those in need, etc). We had already taught a little
bit about the word of wisdom before, but this day we taught it
properly and she committed to it with no problem. Then we started
teaching tithing in which we used a teaching example using chocolate
like what I did for my last investigator with a baptismal date in
Toyota. The lesson went really well and the members who were present
bore really strong testimonies of the blessings of tithing. The was
such a good feeling in the room I thought nothing could go wrong and
then when we asked her if she would follow this commandment she said
she couldn't. Apparently when she started lessons with us she promised
her 16 year old son that if the church would ever ask her to pay money
she would quit. She told us that because of that promise she wouldn't
be able to follow follow this commandment. The really sad thing was
that she told us that she asked us in the beginning if coming to
church would cost her money and we said no and now she doesn't feel
like we were telling the truth. The truth is it doesn't cost money to
come to church and the commandment of tithing isn't about monetary
gain, it's to help those in need. At the end of the lesson she really
didn't want to meet again and we haven't been able to meet her since.
We going to keep trying.

David's lesson was also kind of a wreck where he literally talked for
a solid two hours about why he can't believe in an organized religion
and didn't give us too much time to talk. The good thing was we
learned a lot more about his beliefs and he said he would keep
learning from us. It was really a weird day and the results of it were
rather disappointing.

This week all of the couple missionaries went on a three day
conference (*cough* vacation *cough*) with President Ishii up in 長野県
(Nagano-ken) so we didn't have our van and couldn't exchange with our
bikes. Therefore we arranged for the 松本 ZLs to come to our area, 名東,
and exchange with us on Wednesday. This was the first time ZLs have
ever come to our area to work. It was fun and was my first time
spending the whole day working outside in the 本部's area. I worked with
Elder Mitchell and we went looking for less active members that the
ward wanted us to try to visit. I also went on an exchange with Elder
阿部 (Abe) in 春日井 (Kasugai) because our District Leader wanted to
exchange with us. It was fun to go on a normal exchange with only two
people in the area. I worked with 阿部 in the 本部 for three transfers so
it was fun to actually get to go work with him in the field and help
him with some worries he has. It was really good to spend some time
away from 名東.

Our last thing for the week was yesterday we went to a member a family
called the Gathright's last night and it was incredible. They live up
in a national forest with special permission and live in what is
essentially a giant tree house. It was by far one of the coolest homes
I've ever seen. They live in a beautiful area next to a 1300 year old
warrior shrine that was fought over and protected during what is known
as the Edo Era. Brother Gathright is actually Canadian and his wife is
Japanese and they have a son on a mission and one who will be leaving
soon for one. We had an awesome BBQ with them and an American family
called the Coltrins who are here building F-35s for the Japanese
Defense Force. It was a way good time being with two really good
families partaking of meat and having a good time.

In closing I guess I forgot to tell everyone that Jones passed his
driving test last week! He can now drive and his virgin voyage was up
to 高岡 (Takaoka) this week on Tuesday when we dropped off a dryer up

This Sunday is Fathers Day and just a quick shout out to my dad who
has been especially helping me out these past two years with solid
advice, guidance, and helped take care of most of my paperwork to get
back into USAFA. I love my dad to death. I can't imagine growing up
without him. Thanks Dad! I love you a ton.



Overlooking 名古屋 (Nagoya)

This is a Japanese raccoon. 
They're called tanuki


阿部 and I

The Canadian Family Gathright