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