Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Ola! got your letter and packages mom! thanks so much!  Sounds like some crazy stuff is going on back home and tell Elizabeth I love her!!! She was always the sweetest to me and the one I visited a couple times a week for a few weeks in young womens.  Good to hear from everyone!  Did anyone make a snowman?  haha that's always a bummer when you're stuck at Georgetown school with less supplies and room and stuff.  we haven't really had any snow. mostly just frost.  Our team-up last night took us to see some Christmas lights last night the few minutes we had before we had to get home. It was sweet!!! Sister Howard said she'll take us around Christmas Eve because she knows a really sweet place to go.
So crazy that everyone will be home. I get to Skype here so I'll get to see faces too. Sweetness!  I'm not sure if I prefer that or a phone call. haha The boots Debbie gave me should be just great. I got some socks that I wear over my tights and that's kept my feet really warm.  Kansas weather is SO odd.  It was like 56 degrees yesterday and it's about the same today then it'll randomly switch to 17 again.  so fun. haha  And Christmas is CHRIST-mas.  it's just a fact :) When you take Christ out of it it's merry mas. and that REALLY doesn't work. just makes everyone sound selfish. haha (hope someone else thought that was funny ;)
At the last zone conference they showed us the Christ video "To this End was I Born"  Sheesh it has hard parts to watch.  I was bawling.  But it shows how incredible the Atonement is. how Perfect Jesus Christ is as well and how He knew what He came here to do. 
Also, I'm sending a package out to the family for Christmas.  So you'll probably be surprised to find what's inside but feel free to guess anyways. haha
Katrina! right now it's colder in Idaho than in  Kansas!    Sounds fun to be able to get out and exercise. I just do this workout thing everyday but apparently it's more than a lot of missionaries. A lot of them just stretch, but I don't want to get fat from all the sweets and dinners we get every day.  Ah!!    I'm trying to work the Sugar out of my system.  We have cookies, brownies, little cheese cake bites, and our investigator Pam gave us a box of Sees candy. MMmmmm  Good luck on finding a job! I'll pray for you! (since that's the only way I can help, but it's pretty effective not gonna lie :)
Greg and Ashley! thanks for the pictures!! Brynnlee is so precious!! I bet it'll be awesome at Christmas time with everyone with their kids and everything.  You could get an almost completely updated family photo!!!! 
Nichole, I think it's every updated family photo we get you're pregnant. haha  that's how being a mom goes though right?  When do you find out what you're having?  And happy early birthday and since you're birthday is extra special I'll Skype you ok? haha
Also, I'm staying here in Emporia which I am soooo grateful for.  We've got a lot to do still :)  Rhonda has been reading the 12 scriptures we gave her and other investigators from the Book of Mormon about the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Christ. So awesome!!!  We read with them if they haven't read and some of them have been surprised that the Book of Mormon isn't quite what they thought it was, it's better. haha  So exciting.  She and Brandon and Tony are just so awesome.  The picture that we all took together they put on their Christmas tree. We feel super special. Did I tell you Tony calls us the Dynamic Duo? baha
We've been talking with a lady named Marsha.  So she is super sweet and can talk about anything.  We love talking with her.  She attended the LDS church for 4 years actively and had callings but was never baptized.  One day she just stopped and she's not sure why but she doesn't want to go back.  She has read the Book of Mormon through once before but she said she'll start it again.  We're hoping she'll let us start actually teaching her some lessons but she's pretty reserved about that.  She  likes visiting, but hopefully if she starts the Book of Mormon we'll have more church stuff to talk about. 
We also have gone to see Kathleen who is a knitting pro and congratulated me on my knitting skills cause I made a head warmer band thing during my lunches and P-day and stuff. haha haven't worn it yet, but it'll keep my ears warm when I need it!  :) Bow and everything, haha  She's been taught everything by missionaries and has seen them for the last 50 years or so.  We talked to her about the plan of salvation, but she said she doesn't even know if she has faith.  Sister Tycz (Pronunciation is: Ice with a T just for you Ashley! haha) and I thought about what we could give her for another of the 12 days of Christmas and thought the Finding Faith in Christ video would be best.  We hope she'll watch it soon :)
Also, more good news! Daniel and Kim decided to go back to church and I think Linda will too now. So happy! thanks to Sister Mortensen for giving me updates. 
Matt and Izak are so hilarious.  We taught them the plan of Salvation and they had some awesome deep questions.  They also said they don't know why they smoke because they don't even like it. haha makes no sense. 
Sister Tycz and I got Christmas sweaters for our zone's Christmas party which was sweet! where we watched that Christ video and were fed a TON. haha We had interviews with our Mission President Bell which was cool.  HE told me to take 20 minutes, pray for ten and listen for the other ten.  I did it that night and got some cool thoughts and answers.  The Spirit always will tell us the truth! and tell us something that's best rather than good, or better. 
I'm so excited for what this week will bring.  I never knew I'd get so excited when someone reads a bit out of the Book of Mormon, even if it's only a verse or chapter.  Being a missionary is so rewarding and I love love love the people here and hope we can find even more this week.  Thanks for your love and letters!  I'll e-mail you next week with some pictures and I hope you'll get my and Sister Tycz's Christmas letter/pictures before Christmas :)  Love you!!!

-- Love always and forever
Sister Harston

Monday, December 9, 2013

So Winter means Christmas and it's almost here!! Ah!!! Tony and Rhonda already said we could come over Christmas day for lunch with their family. haha Even though one of their family members doesn't really like Mormons.  They are so awesome!!!  But first I gotta ask how you all are doing!? Are Christmas preparations crazy or what? 
Nichole!! I need a pregnant picture :) haha Can't believe you're fourth kid will be there soonish.  I think I need a list of everyone's birthdays so I can keep track of how old you people are. haha
One of the Less active ladies we visit, Janet!, is super duper sweet.  She runs her own day care and all the kids love her.  She said that she can see a light in Mormon's eyes in general and said she'd come to the ward Christmas party, but unfortunately didn't make it there.  We gave her another copy of the Book of Mormon though and she wants to start reading it again :) It's a powerful little book that is for sure!! I'm still working on knowing where things are so I can whip them out when the time is right.
We talked to Matt Simmons on his doorstep again.  haha We haven't ever been able to set a real appointment with him so we haven't been able to bring anyone with us.  Izak wasn't there cause apparently he works on an oil rig somewhere for 2 weeks then comes back for a week. Crazy schedule.  But we gave Matt a Restoration pamphlet and he pinned it up on his wall because he was excited to have a  picture of Jesus. haha  "You got to read it first Matt"  we told him. haha pretty funny though. 
A little about the Jensens (the members we live with)  They are awesome!! Sister Jensen reminds me of Grandma Harston honestly.  She knows an incredible amount about the gospel and has an unshakable testimony.  Sister Tycz and I had some questions about Jesus Christ's atonement and the other worlds that He created and also about what things we do after we die.  It was a long conversation but my mind is much clearer now :)  I'm learning so much everyday it's AWESOME!!!  one hour of personal study just isn't long enough anymore. haha
Tim, one of our investigators committed to go to church this Sunday!!! (which unfortunately was cancelled, we were devastated, but next Sunday!) He is super nice and interested in learning more which totally surprised us because he's covered in tattoos and looks kind of rough.  I just proves to us again that anyone can be ready for the gospel!!!!  We can make a judgment that makes them live their life without even knowing the fullness is here!   Scary thought.  I know without a doubt that this Gospel blesses individuals and families.  it fills you up in ways that no food or addiction ever could.  It sustains me and buoys me up.  And I still have sososososooo much to learn. 
During zone training this week they scared us all half to death.  They said that the Mission President had sent a voicemail that he wanted us all to listen to saying, "The prophet has just made a change.  Since there are so many missionaries coming out now on missions, their shortening each missionaries' mission by 6 months."  Everyone was really somber and Sister Tycz started crying immediately.  I just kept thinking, it's not true, it can't be true.  And FORTUNATELY it wasn't.  It was a serious eye opener though.  Time is precious!!  We got to use every minute like it's the last week of our mission and time is running out.  Sister Tycz and I had just been talking the day before about how we only have 10 transfers left!  Time is going too fast and my training will be done by next week.  My goodness, it also showed how much I love being out here!  It's not always super exciting, and not everyone is home or wants to talk to us when we knock on their doors, but it is absolutely worth it and I wouldn't trade it for anything in this world. 
 For example, these are the moments every missionary loves.  Tony and Rhonda came to the ward Christmas party!!! and members of the ward came up and said hi and welcomed them too.  we were hoping some members would come and sit with us, but that's ok.  Tony even knew a couple people from a place he worked at many years ago and also one from high school. It was priceless when he shook Jo Zabriskie's hand and said do I look familiar to you?  she was at a loss til he said he was Tony and she said Tollet??  Yep! haha The last couple days Sister Tycz and I went over to Tony and Rhonda Tollet's to help them set up their Christmas tree and such.  We got to teach them the Plan of Salvation which they said really made sense to them.  The next day we talked with them and they were laughing about how I know all the old movies and TV shows and Sister Tycz knows all the new ones. baha  (Glass Bottom Boat, the Carol Burnet show, etc. They know them!) We taught them about Joseph Smith and the Restoration and showed them the 20minute video about it.  I could definitely feel the Spirit and I think they did too.  They're Methodist and said that our religion believes a lot of the same things, but where we're different, we're really different. haha  They love us and we love them SOOO much!  They've both said they're adopting us and tony said he worries about us walking the streets when there are bad people around, even in Emporia. So sweet.  I've attached a picture of them by the way :) 
Also, Katrina, I don't know if you remember my password, but could you accept Rhonda's friend request for me on facebook?  That would be sweet :)  And I got your package!!! yay ;) and I didn't even open it yet although you're killin' me, you're really killin' me. hahah  THANK YOU!!!
I also got the letters that family wrote at Thanksgiving which was super fun to read.  :D LOVED it!!!
The roads are skating rinks here. so pretty but kinda iffy. haha   But our investigator Debbie gave me some of her boots that she doesn't fit anymore!!! So sososoo thoughtful, I was about to cry it was so nice of her. plus some DELICIOUS homemade bread. oooh so good. 
My goal this week is to learn more about the Atonement and make our visits more effective. We just love them so much we have to know how everything is going with them that we end up staying too long. haha But I just started Jesus the Christ and I'm super excited to read it when I can between studying the scriptures and Preach My Gospel.   I know that The Atonement of Jesus Christ is real.  That He came to this earth.  I read 3 Nephi 19 this morning and it really made me rethink my own prayers.  It talks about Jesus Christ praying for the people.  Christ just thanks Heavenly Father for the gift and blessing He gives to the people.  He wants them all to enjoy the blessings of having the Holy Ghost which is truly an amazing gift from our Father in Heaven.  I love feeling that in my heart, and Knowing truth because of him.  In verse 34 it says, "Nevertheless, so great and marvelous were the words which he pared that they cannot be written, neither can they be uttered by man."  That really made me rethink about how wimpy my prayers sometimes are, like please bless me with this, and please bless me with that.  Yeah we do need help sometimes, but our focus should really be thanks and praying for others and their specific challenges and needs.  It adds to the definition of forget yourself and go to work.  I know prayer works!!! I pray for our investigators often, that they will pray and recognize the answer they get to their prayers.  I know this is the truth because I can feel it.  Just like I can't describe what salt tastes like, I can't describe what the Holy Ghost does for me, but I am thankful that he helps change my heart and will to align with my Loving Heavenly Father.  (Also see Matthew 15:30 and take note of the word WITH.  I'd never noticed before that the people didn't get to Jesus' feet by themselves)
Love you all and hope things are tooooo crazy around the Christmas season.  Everybody stay warm!! Taylor told me it's supposed to snow there. Burr!!  I'll let you know about transfers next week if we're even going to be transferred (I sure hope not we got more work to do!) haha 

-- Love always and forever
Sister Harston

Monday, December 2, 2013

So good to hear about the family Thanksgiving in Idaho!!!  And can't wait to get all those precious notes from everyone who was in California for Thanksgiving to :)  That's nice that it's not a very long break between seeing them.  Are Nichole and Justin and family flying down for Christmas?  I haven't gotten Katrina's package yet, but I think it got stuck at the mission home and will hopefully be here soon.  As for where to send it, I don't think I'll be transferred so you could probably just send here to the 2090 Fanestil address. then i'll get it quicker.
And also I might need a few things for warmth. It's supposed to be a high of 20 degrees here on Friday. Burr!!! Fortunately we have the car this week, but next week might be a little frigid if you know what I'm sayin. So don't want to make it difficult for ya but maybe some long sleeve shirts, and a cardigan and fleece lined tights or something?  I have a couple pairs of tights but we can't seem to find them at the Wal-Mart here and we haven't been able to shop anywhere else really. 
I'm so excited for Marissa!! I tried to e-mail her and I think she might be in the same area as a couple of the Elders who were in my district.  I'm so excited she doesn't have to wait anymore.  She's going to be such a strong spanish missionary.  Love her!
Thanksgiving here was great. We seriously had like 3 meals and Sister Tycz and I could barely eat our cereal the next morning. haha  The first one was at the Starr's house and so it was a pretty big get together.  Jeremy Starr dared Sister Tycz and I to eat a concoction of his making and said he'd buy us Christmas sweaters if we did.  so since awesome ugly Christmas sweaters were on the line, we agreed. haha  so the combo was gross. I'll be honest.  Fortunately we only had to eat a mouthful but he mixed this melty cheddar broccoli cheese with black licorice and nutmeg.  Delicious right? Blegh haha
We did get to have Thanksgiving on the 30th with Rhonda and Tony and all their family.  You could tell they were pretty skeptical at first but since we just talked with them and they realized we were normal they warmed up.  We talked with Rhonda's dad Mike for a while. He even started introducing us to the others. haha  They asked for how long we'll be out on a mission, and how we got to go out, so we got to talk a little about the prophet.  They thought it was cool that we're paying for it ourselves.  They also want me to get out to Brazil quick so I don't freeze. haha  They had some pretty good suggestions of where to get boots for Sister Tycz though.  Can't wait to go back and talk with Tony and Rhonda later this week.
Right after we ate a ton at Tony and Rhonda's we got to work it off by raking leaves for our investigator Debbie.  I don't think she's really interested in what we have to say.  She just likes venting to us. haha But her friend Debbie started asking some questions.  New investigator!!! She is so sweet.  She's got a few things to work on (like drug addiction, alcohol, and smoking plus she's living with her icky boyfriend)  But there is so much hope for her!! Sister Tycz and I had the awesome experience of viewing her as the Lord sees her.  I was horrible and was thinking there was no way we could teach her because she was a bit drunk and stuff, but once Sister Tycz started teaching her, I prayed to Heavenly Father to help me see her potential.  She really is pretty and would look so good with clear eyes, dressed in white and smiling.  She wants to fix things and blames herself for everything (which we suspect is partly due to the guy she's dating/living with).  The Gospel can bless her and help her so much though!!!!  She could actually be happy and feel she has worth, because it's so true!!!  We want to help her so bad but the best thing for her honestly, is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  She wanted to come to church but apparently had work, and her boyfriend doesn't like Mormons either. So we hope he doesn't stop her from coming closer to Christ.
Also, after raking for a couple hours, we had to have a bit of fun, so enjoy the crazy pictures! haha
The day before Thanksgiving we were going to to see Matt and Izak, who weren't home unfortunately.  So instead we thought we'd do a bit of tracting.  We knocked on a door, and as we started walking away, a lady opened it and her husband drove up at the same time so we were stuck in the middle. haha  We talked with them (Sharen and Rolan) for a bit.  She wasn't interested when we offered her a Book of Mormon, but her husband said he'd take one.  We're excited to talk a bit more!  Also, since we have the car this week we get to go seen the Knolls who live too far away to walk.  We have their names and don't know if they're already members or not, so we'll find out soon!! haha 
Oh PS, Sad news some crazy things happened in Dodge City apparently and Kim and Daniel, the recent converts are thinking of withdrawing their membership record because he feels judged now that people know he's done some pretty bad stuff. Since they live with Linda, Linda thinks the church does background checks on everyone and doesn't want to be a part of it.  She loves the Sisters still but doesn't want to be a part of the church :/ Seriously broke my heart to hear this.  I really hope we can still write back and forth though.
Anyways, Stephanie's prego?  Oh my goosh soooo exciting!!!!   so she and Nichole will both be due in what month? Also super excited for you Katrina to be in Idaho with Greg and Ashley, what's your/their address??so I can send something for Christmas :D  Also I'm in need of Adam's and Nichole's address and Grandma Harston's and Grandma and Pa Davenports. I think that's all the stamps I have so yeah.  haha  I really hope you find a job though KC! Especially if the medical coding can totally pay off too. If you need a math tutor, um can't help ya. haha but apparently I remember something because I helped a less active lady a week or so ago with her homework. haha random.That's sweet that Kaily and Thomas will be there.  Can't wait to hear your hangout stories :)  Say what?!?!?!  baha it'll be like that here too :)  good luck on Sundays when you have to wear a skirt! haha
Well I love you all and know that this Gospel can help us no matter what trials we face, be they large or small.  Our Heavenly Father just wants to help us so much if we would only turn to Him and the example He gave us through His Son Jesus Christ.  I know this church is true without a doubt.  I feel the Holy Ghost testify this to me every single day and it's the best feeling in the world.  I love you all!!!! 

-- Love always and forever
Sister Harston

Monday, November 25, 2013

Ola! Como vai?! So great to hear from you all :) I'm so glad that the other Sister Harston (Amy of course haha) is safe and sound:) that is so crazy.  The tornado that happened in Kansas I hadn't even heard about, haha shows how much it affected us hear! Love is definitely imperative here on the mission.  You're not going to enjoy the work at all if you don't love who you're talking to no matter how they respond to you.  And like you said Dad, you can't teach by the Spirit if your own emotions are clouding the way. This work is sososososoooo! worth it :) Thank you all for your love and prayers. Also yeah, didn't get your e-mail dad, quite the mystery, bahah ;) Have you been getting lots of opportunities to work 24s?
Also, the address is the same, cause, just to be safe I have all the mail sent to the mission home and then they forward it to me. For packages, they said thy can forward priority mail, but if it isn't they have to wait for someone who is travelling to your area to get it to you.  So my home address right now is 2090 Fanestil Dr., Emporia, KS 66801.
That's so awesome that you all get to be in Idaho together!!!!  I can't wait to hear all about the trip.  And yes, Katrina has always had a knack for getting kids to fall asleep.  Such a good auntie :) 
Mom, it sounds like Otter Creek is a pretty kicking place, hopefully not literally!  You sound like you need a pretty big raise :) You're a PE teacher too now  so did you have to invent things for them to do or does Georgetown send you all the things that they need to do?  Sounds like Idaho is a much needed break. So jealous! but a mission's a pretty good trade off too, haha ;) We had one random power outage here for a few minutes, but not as fun as card playing in the dark for a few hours!!! Saweet! haha did you roast marshmallows over the candles with forks again? I really hope the teacher keeps in the name Jesus Christ because that's where we got Christmas! it wouldn't exist at all without Him.  As for warm's getting pretty chilly here. We got to walk home one night and my oh my the humidity gets ya. haha I got a cardigan and another pair of tights and a beanie and Sister Tycz got a package with some scarves so she gave me one.  I think I'm good for now though.  I'll keep you updated :)
So I'll definitely be taken care of for Thanksgiving, we'll be working though cause missionaries have too important a work to take a break other than P-day :).  Here in Emporia the members are so kind and feed us every night! I hope I don't gain too much or a couple of my skirts won't fit as well haha  We have Thanksgiving with the Starr family and they cook amazingly yummy dinners so I can't even imagine how great it'll be.  Also, BEST NEWS EVER, we're eating another Thanksgiving dinner on the 30th at an investigator's house-Tony and Rhonda!  They've been having a bit of marriage trouble lately, but they're not planning on ending it fortunately because their kids matter the most to them at this point.  Rhonda told her mom that we will be coming over by saying, "My little Mormon girls are coming over"  Hahah so cool :)  WE are so excited to meet and talk with everyone.  We talked to Rhonda the other day for a super long time because she said, "I've got nothing but time" so we filled it.  hahah We might have taught her too much.  We talked about Joseph Smith, temples, family history, baptism, baptism for the dead, the Book of Mormon, the Spirit world.  We covered a lot of ground. haha she still doesn't really believe it's true, but she said our conviction for it is making her interested, especially because we are so young.  She said we seemed pretty mature and wanted our advice on how to get her 20 year old son motivated to do stuff. hahaha send him on a mission! just kidding we didn't say that ;)
We also got a couple new investigators, Matt and Izak.  They're cousins and roommates.  WE had an appointment with Matt and couldn't go inside because there weren't any other girls there but he was so nice and went and got a jacket and stuff so he could talk with us outside and his cousin Izak joined us.  It was the coolest talk ever.  Izak especially seems pretty interested.  When we were talking about the Book of Mormon they said, "you seem like it makes you pretty happy"  It does! we looked at eachother both grinning from ear to ear. haha  Izak also said, "you must have been sent from God or something because it's crazy that you were able to catch us at home, let alone at home at the same time"  Ah!  They're both pretty young but we're planning on which members we can take with us next time to visit or have them go to their home.  So exciting.! This is what makes missionary work extra amazing :) 
This Gospel seriously makes me so happy!  It fills you up and gives you a reason to smile for the day even when it's not the best.  I am so grateful for all I been taught by all of you! And Dad, I'm even using some scripture masteries! who knew right?! haha.
Katrina, I'm so happy you're in Idaho.  You and Ashley could probably have some fun shopping though if you haven't already :) Don't die! haha those classes sound pretty sweet though.  And you'll have to sing for me at Christmas so I can compare the before the vocal class and after. haha but really ;)  how many credits is that?
Nichole and Justin!! funnest cutest family at Halloween! I can't believe I used to fit into the tutu that Ashlynn was wearing. haha
Also, Letisha didn't go to church. She found a job and hasn't found time to meet with Sister Mortensen and Sister Bradshaw :/  Also apparently Linda is pulling back a little bit, but I have high hopes for her still.  I wrote her a letter and I HOPE she writes me back. 
Our mission's goal is to put people on date for baptism for the 24th of December so we can have a white Christmas :)  What greater gift can you give to the Savior of the world for His birthday?  Give Him you're heart and He'll take better care of it that you will. haha  I LOVE being a missionary, I love my companion. She's so fun , we talk about everything:)  I know the Lord knows what I need and has provided.  I'm trying my best to be His missionary and an instrument in His loving and powerful hands.  They Holy Ghost is truly an amazing gift.  Missionary work and conversion would not happen without him! It fills my soul :)

I love you all so very very much and am praying for you too! hope you all have a marvelous Thanksgiving!! 

-- Love always and forever
Sister Harston

Monday, November 18, 2013

So I was transferred to Emporia II and I have a new companion Sister Tycz! Seriously love her so much. She and I took too long in Wal-Mart today buying nothing so we don't have tons of time to e-mail. haha but it'll probably be just as long.
So before I left Dodge, we got to see a few of our investigators! I seriously think it was a blessing from my Heavenly Father that we got to see them all.  Elder Sweeten said there can be power in a transfer because you can bear testimony to the people and help them see that they can be strong without you specifically there.  When we told Linda I was leaving, she was super sad, but I bore testimony that the Gospel is true and is the same, no matter who teaches it to you, plus Sister Mortensen would still be there.  Linda wrote down all her contact info for me so we can still keep in touch.  But also, I think since I was leaving and asked her to give the closing prayer (which she wouldn't do before because she was uncomfortable) she was hesitant, we reassured her, and she did it!!!! It was the most amazing thing ever :) The Spirit was really strong, not by anything I said, but by the own spirit she brought through prayer. 
We finally got to meet Letisha who actually just got out of jail and has an anklet on and everything.  She was really nice, but her story is that she was dating a drug lord, and when she realized that, she broke up with him, so he planted some drugs in some clothes he gave her and the police came in, took everything away, took her to jail and all this crazy other stuff.  But she's been reading the Bible and wants to read the Book of Mormon and committed to come to church on Sunday, so I'm really hoping to hear from Sister Mortensen about who went to church this Sunday.  We have high hopes for her :)
We also got to see the Greens and sit down with them in their home for the first time ever to give a real lesson.  Yay!  We gave the whole first lesson and then James asked, can I ask a question? I feel kind of embarrassed to ask it."  We're like, absolutely!!  ask anything, that's what we're here for!  So he asked about Polygamy in the church and where that came from if it's not true today, so we explained and then lynnsi asked about infants who die and if they're sent to hell like their preacher told them.  I was happy to bring up a scripture to explain that infants are pure! and go straight to the Celestial kingdom.  They were really happy to hear that :)  They also committed to go to church.  They are amazing and again, I really hope sister mortensen will give me an update every once in a while cause I miss all those people and I still love them :D
The Bus ride here was 3 hours to Wichita, and then 2 more hours to Topeka then a drive down to Emporia.  Didn't get home til about 7pmbut we had a lesson that night with Larry and he's a little hesitant about the Book of Mormon and said he'd try to read it, and we asked, why wouldn't you? He mostly said because he's busy, so we asked him to read one chapter which is really only 2 pages.  hope he does :)
As for the bus ride, that was interesting in and of itself.  I was talking with 3 guys who all seemed to be friends.  one of them has a step-mom who is Mormon and lives somewhere in southern California. He said he has a Book of Mormon already and he was amazed at how the book of Mormon says a lot of what the Bible says and says even more, and the Bible has a lot of what the Book of Mormon has but some other things too.  so together they confound false doctrine basically.  I was like, yeah! it does! super cool
Our progressing investigator here is Pam.  She's been taught the first few lessons, and we went and talked to her on Friday, I believe.  She has a hard time wrapping her head around the idea that we existed as Spirits before this life with our Heavenly Father.  She's hesitant because she wants to be sure she knows it's true. As Sister Tycz and I were talking with her, she started tearing up.  Sister Tycz was totally inspired to invite her to be baptized on Dec 14, a day she's been praying about for a while.  And Pam said yes!!!  She's not totally committed, but she said if she receives confirmation before then, she will :D So cool!
A little about Sister Tycz, she's awesome. Wants to work super hard, but was a little nervous to train me since she just finished her training. but she's fabulous. Honestly. She's from Ogden Ut and has a bit of a Utahn accent. haha we're having fun, working hard, passing out cards like crazy. haha Also super cool fact, when I was in Dodge City, Elder Bennett was in my District and he said he had served in Emporia a little bit ago.  I asked him who he wanted me to go see and he said, the only name that came to his mind was Imelda.  No address or last name so I was like, awesome, we'll see if I can find her.  I walk into our apartment, (the upstairs of a member's house. The Jensens and it's super nice)  And I see Imelda written under potential investigators on our white board.  I said, we need to see her! Sister Tycz said she lived kinda far away so we'd try next week when we'd get the car.  Well, we were going to go to the college for a bit to talk to some people, and found out there was a football game so that wasn't going to work.  Sister Tycz,said, we can go try Imelda then.  Apparently She and her previous companion had tried unsuccessfully 6 times to see her and she was never home.  Some Elders had tried too and she rejected them. So went on over, (Sister tycz was thinking, well she really wants to see her so we'll try).  Imelda was home!!! Her dad answered the door and let us in, she thought he said she had a phone call so she came out into the living room and found us instead! haha I told her that Elder Bennett said hi and wanted me to see her for him.  We set up a return appointment too!  AH! I don't believe it for a bit that it was just a coincidence that we were able to find her. 
I know this gospel is true!!!  I can feel it every morning when I read my scriptures.  The applications we can make to our own lives in them are incredible when you look for them.  I'm so excited to be here and I absolutely know this is where I need to be.  I know the Lord is leading us, even when we don't realize it sometimes.  As long as we are prepared and trying with all our heart, might, mind, and strength, we can't go wrong.  I know we have success every time we offer people these priceless truths.  We can't let them pass another day without it!!  What would our lives be like without the Gospel of Jesus Christ?.........That's how it is for everyone else and they don't even know it!!  I'm excited to have Sister Tycz as a companion and I know we'll be able to accomplish much together :)
KC, I got your wonderful letter and absolutely loved it :)  Can't wait to see some of those Halloween pictures.  You'll be in Idaho in no time at all, that'll be SWEET!  I'll let you know when I get the package, and I GUESS I promise not to open it til Christmas....sheesh! haha Being in the baby room will be fun :) it'll be good mommy practice I guess? haha
I love you all and hope everythings going ok!  How's Amy in the Philippines? I heard a really big storm hit there.  How's school mom?  Any funny stories?  Dad! got all the wood chopped for winter? How are all the grandparents doing?  How's choir on Sunday? Any snow yet?  Excited to go to Idaho and visit?  What are the kids like this year at Otter Creek? How is it being the cleaning schedule people still? Can't wait to hear how things are going! 

-- Love always and forever
Sister Harston

Monday, November 11, 2013

Well, so fair warning, a lot of info is about to be unleashed.  First of all, I'm being transferred! To......Not Brazil. haha But to Emporia, Kansas.  Sister Mortensen was thinking that she'd be transferred because she's been in Dodge City her whole mission so far, 5 months, but I guess her new trainee is coming here and I'm already headed out. Sheesh way to fast.  Not gonna lie, when I found out, I started bawling.  Not that I'm afraid, or nervous, or doubting or anything, but I'm really going to miss everyone here!!! There are so many people that we've been talking to and have such great potential and I love them so much! I'd been praying for charity for the people here, and I guess I didn't realize I loved them so much until I found out I had to leave.  Sheesh.  Today and tomorrow we're going to go around a little bit to say bye to people.  But yeah.  I know that I've been in Dodge for all that I needed to be and that the Lord needs me to be elsewhere this Wednesday . I know I'll love the people in Emporia too and am excited to meet my new companion/trainer Sister Tyzc.
So from all these stories you'll see why I'm sad to leave, but no worries.  I'm not holding on to the past but looking forward with a brightness of hope.  Sister Mortensen said she'll give me some e-mail updates on people too thankfully :)
So on Saturday, a man (Yvon) that Elder Cannon and Elder Carlson have been teaching was baptized!  I've never been so excited to see a baptism before.  I guess I understand the meaning of it so much more now and the amazing blessings and happiness it brings. Yvon's family is all members.  He'd been holding out for a while, but apparently Elder Cannon did something that caught him, got him to read the Book of Mormon.  Wow! The greatest tool to conversion is the book of Mormon.  If they start reading that with an open heart and mind, truly asking God if it's true, they Will know it is.  It's a promise from our Heavenly Father!  This just is another witness of how powerful and wonderful the Book of Mormon is.  It's essential!
We taught Linda twice this week with Brother and Sister Chamberlain, and also Daniel and Kim Prater (Linda's their aunt who they live with. they're also recent converts as of a month and a half ago).  What an amazing experience it is to teach with members someone who is so sweet and willing to listen and wanting to learn.  She even came to church on Sunday!!!!!!!!!!!  Best day ever :)  She was fellowshipped amazingly well with the Chamberlains sitting on one side, the Praters on the other, and us right behind her. Several people, including Bishop Bunkhall came up and said hi to her and welcomed her. Yvon was confirmed in Sacrament meeting that day too which was good for the discussion we had with her later.  Sacrament was in Spanish so all the English speakers had to where the headphones the Spanish speakers usually use for translation.  She said she really enjoyed Relief Society the most.  The Chamberlains came with us that night to talk with her and Linda had a great question.  "What does your church exactly believe?" so we reviewed how the church has been restored, and Sister Mortensen was totally inspired to pull out the Articles of Faith.  I never would have thought of that!  The power of a companionship coupled with the Holy Ghost.  We went through each one and discussed them a bit.  We talked about the Holy Ghost which I know Linda recognizes, because it was definitely present.  She said she's leaning a lot more towards our church because she's never felt so loved before and said "I love you both to death and I know that you'd do anything for me" Absolutely!!!  She's read all the way through 1st and 2nd Nephi by herself already.  Wow! We give her hugs everytime before we leave.  She is an amazing lady.  We're slightly fearful that her attachment to us is her only real attachment to the church, but I think she feels it.  She says she knows the Book of Mormon is true, so we invited her to continue thinking about being baptized and praying and reading and we're going to check up with heron Tuesday and have her offer the kneeling prayer which she hasn't been willing to do so far, but I know it's really essential at this point for her to do.  It'll just be her, sister Mortensen and me so she should be able to do it, nervousness or not.  I love her so much and will miss her! But she's well taken care of.
We talked to Caroline this week too.  She has an amazing knowledge of the Bible.  She can talk for a loooonng while. haha we have to kind of interject sometimes to bring it back to the topic.  She was asking about prophets and what they are.  She'd read in Moroni 10 and wanted to know if Moroni was a prophet or a teacher.  so we talked a little bit and we have an appointment with her on Thursday that Sister Mortensen and her new companion will get to talk about the Godhead a little bit, and hopefully the plan of Salvation too.  Mike seems really interested in the church and I hope he is at home next time so he can be a part of the lesson.
So Linda and Caroline are next door neighbors and another neighbor of theirs is Doc Tanner.  He's an older man who always wears a sheriff badge and no one knows why. haha He likes Mormon jokes but there's no harm in them.  He actually has a pretty good knowledge of the history of the church too.  We only talked with him once for 10 min, but we invited him to do his family history.  And he did go to the family history center!!!  We are hoping to check back with him to see how it was.  We heard from Sister Mackey that he was there and so we're hoping to go with him the next time he goes if he doesn't move to Illinois first like he's planning on. 
We got to talk to our neighbor Angie, who works her tail off at the new Ihop here in town.  She's very stressed but the friendliest sweetest person.  She's been looking for a church that is held in the evening because she works everyday.  She said she's at the end of her rope and finds some comfort when she reads from the Bible for a few minutes each night.  We invited her to also read from 3 nephi 11 in the Book of Mormon and promised that she could feel that peace as she reads it.  She said she would!  She even invited us to run the Bible study that she's been holding with friends on Wednesday nights, so I said Good luck Sister Mortensen! haha
I don't know if I ever talked about Erika and Lenny, they are active members in the ward, but Erika just got here from Columbia and married Lenny not too long ago.  He came here a year or so ago to work to pay for her to come out to the US.  She doesn't really speak any English at all and is usually stuck in her apartment all day, and Lenny works from 5pm to 12am or something so her evenings she usually spends alone except for going to the English class that Elder and Sister Williams run on Wednesdays.  We've gone over to visit with her a few times.  She's been very patient with my Spanish, and we have a pretty good conversations, dancing around words I don't know, but we seem to understand each other for the most part.  It's been fun talking with her, and Sister Mortensen is hoping her new companion, who'll be fresh from the MTC will be able to speak a little Spanish here because there are tons of people here who don't speak English at all.  Also, we offered yesterday to teach a lady, Cleofas who is a less active member, some English.  She can't go to the English class on Wednesdays because she works evenings at National Beef, so we're going to go Tuesday morning for 20 min or so to teach her a little bit.  I don't know how that will continue in the future, but I hope it does so we can become friends with her, help her learn English, and help her get back to church. 
This week Sister Mortensen and I wanted to use service in much of our teaching and interactions with people.  It's been so cool! a lady was painting a fence in her garage which is across from the church building and we offered to help so she said, I might take you up on that, do you have a number? Absolutely!  Also we get to go help Lynnsi and James Green paint their house tomorrow.  they still haven't come to church, but this is a perfect opportunity to help them out and get to know them better. They've always been so kind to us.
I also asked Grandpa Davenport in a letter this week to send me some mission stories that he remembers...hopefully he does!!!! Cause that would be sweet :) 
Something I learned this week in my personal study is that prayer is a powerful sacred thing.  When you pray for someone when they're there, it's another way they know you love them.  Prayers are an act of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  I find them more meaningful as we pray specifically for other people and to help them with specific experiences they're going through.  During lessons, we can pray silently in our heart for the people who are speaking and for those who are listening.  I know that amazing things can be accomplished when we have members attend lessons with us. I've seen it!  Members stay here as the missionaries come and go.  They are there and I have great hope that the members of the Dodge City ward will take care of the precious people we bring to them.  For they are all precious children of our Heavenly Father and I can feel that and know that now more than ever before.  I know that this is the Lords work and none of it is possible without His Spirit and the Book of Mormon.  We're trying to get it into as many hands and homes as possible.  I know this is the true church.  I feel it again and again and again and again.  I know the missionaries really don't do much, we help people open the door and the Lord does the rest.  I know that the Holy Ghost changes and softens hearts.  I know it!
I love you all so very very much!   Can't wait to hear how everyone's doing :)

-- Love always and forever
Sister Harston

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

So you might be wondering why this e-mail's coming on Tuesday, well yesterday we had a mission conference here in Dodge and Elder Nash and his wife of the 1st Quorum of the Seventy came!!! What a cool experience.  So P-day was moved to today, but it will be on Monday again next week.  Thanks so much for the letter and package!  Brynnlee is so precious! Ashley also sent me an e-mail with a few more pictures which is soooo nice :) I can't believe they're officially parents and I'm so excited for them!!!!! They will be wonderful :) The stories you sent are amazing.  What cool and strong people we are descended from.  They are wonderful examples and help to put our own trials in perspective. Like with Christina Young and being a Relief Society President for 25 years, whoowee.  haha  Sister Mortensen and I requested some Family History pass-along card to use as we contact people in-between appointments so that'll be fun :)
Happy Birthday GREG!!!! I know this is late but I have an excuse, I'm on a mission. hahaha Hope it was wonderful!!! What did you do for it?
I am so happy for Marissa.  And yes! I want to know where she ends up.  Also, where did Justin Ditlevson end up?  I don't think I have his e-mail right because it came back in an error message.  Also, Sister Jackson officially got her visa and is headed out to Brazil on the 11th of this month. so 6 days.  I wonder how she's feeling but we don't have much time to e-mail each other.  I'm really excited for her though.  And Sister Mortensen is known by many in the stake so it shouldn't be too hard to find more people who know her. haha 
That's cool that you're reading Jesus the Christ, Mom.  I have yet to read it even though I have it.  What a great hope that is that our Heavenly Father's judgments are just.  He is so forgiving as long as our hearts are in the right place, and we act to make things right.  I've needed that gift every day. 
I got the letter from Grandpa Davenport and will write him and Grandma back today.  It was a fun letter about how he and grandma met and also about the background music he is recording for a CD someone in the family is putting together about the history of some place.  Real specific I know, but I forgot to bring the letter with  me to the library and I'm definitely gonna work on him in a loving and caring way, because he and grandma could be helped and blessed so much!!!! I'm hoping also that the Christmas season will soften hearts :) 
Thanks dad for the mission story!!!!!! That's amazing.  I wonder if that man is now a member because it's totally possible.  It's amazing that the Lord has given us the Holy Ghost to testify of truth so we don't just have to assume that what they say is right, but we can know for ourselves.  It's ok to question it, but once we get that confirmation, we should hold fast to the ground we gain and never lose it, but act on that new knowledge.  What a blessing! I've been studying a bit about the Holy Ghost so I can trust more in the Lord, and it's confirmed to me again and again by him that this church is true!!!!
So now that I gave you a teaser about yesterday, I'll go into a bit more depth.  Elder Nash was here!! you can look up his face in the Ensign :) I was amazed at the spirit that was present and the things I learned from the open ended questions he asked.  He had us missionaries teach the first half of his talk by having us answer. He also called up several different missionaries to bear their testimonies and talk about teaching with power and how to be a successful missionary.  He patterned his whole talk as an example of how to teach a lesson.  It was amazing!   One question he asked was, "What would the Savior do if he were here in Kansas?"  And I thought, He would call us missionaries to serve with Him!  He would be out there with us, serving, lifting, inviting, loving, in patience with diligence and charity.  His perfect example is written for us to learn by in the scriptures.  He would address the members and ask them to invite people to their homes to feel the spirit that they invite to be there.  He would tell us to do what He has already told us!  Also they told us to not be discouraged when someone does not accept the gospel or your invitation the first time.  They have their agency.  The success is that you invited. (Alma 8:15) Also, Elder Nash called Sister Mortensen and I up in a role play.  He had asked for Sister volunteers and it was really funny to see how some of the sisters were talking to their companions.  I asked Sister Mortensen if she wanted to and she was  like no!  Then Elder Nash came over, pointed at us and invited us up. haha It was really cool though and we got good feedback afterwards of what we did right and what we could have worked on. The situation was a husband and wife in their drive way, he was headed to work and had to leave, so we stopped and talked to the wife and offered service.  Many time as we talk to people and offer to help they don't accept, but we're thinking of ways that maybe members can ask their friends if they need help with raking leaves because there's a couple of young people who are looking for service opportunities :)  I'll give you an update on how that goes this week, next week. 
We have a couple new investigators this week, Regina and Brent, who are actually married!  they were a referral from Elder Cannon and Carlson.  We gave them a couple of Book of Mormons and they said they would read it and we could meet with them this Friday. So excited!!!  They are open to book from all religions and said they wanted to read the Book of Mormon together from start to finish.  Cool!  We hadn't even suggested anything all we did was hand them the book! and what a powerful book it is.  It answers prayers, it softens hearts, it teaches doctrine, etc!
Linda is continuing to progress and said she'll come to church this Sunday when we called her to check up.  We've mentioned church previously, but we hadn't even brought it up yet in that conversation!  She's still reading the Book of Mormon and knows it's true. She also said that the Plan of Salvation just makes sense and has a familiar ring to it. Ahh! so cool :) She said she'll be baptized once she receives that confirmation to her prayers.  Hopefully well get a baptismal date for her soon so she can have an even better experience reading the Book of Mormon with the Holy Ghost as her guide.
Lynnsi and James Green haven't come to church yet and weren't home at the time we had set up for an appointment with them :/  Hopefully we'll be able to contact them this week.  We're also talking to the Chamberlains in our ward to invite them over so we can have a real lesson with them in a good clean, spirit filled setting :)  We're very hopeful, because they are such good kind people.
We have a sort of investigator named Betty.  She and her husband have kind of a funky relationship, but she is wonderful to talk to and I think likes talking to us.  We gave her a couple of Ensigns the last time we saw her because she says she like to read.  She hasn't read the Book of Mormon yet, but she agreed to meet with us again so we can answer questions that she might have about what she has read.  Her husband even said he'd sit in and listen to the discussion so that's exciting too.  It's a wonderful start :)  On our walk over to her house, I had a new experience. It was super duper windy and Sister Mortensen and I were leaning against it when all of a sudden we were both hit from behind by a tumbleweed!! Sheesh! haha yep, those things are all over the place right now.
Another investigator we have is Yolanda.  She runs her own daycare center and we taught the whole first lesson with her.  She has a hard time reading so the Book of Mormon will be a bit challenging, but she highlighted the chapter we invited her to read and said she would read it.  So excited to see how it went this week.  She has good questions like, how is your church different from all the other ones?  What a question!!!  That's when we started the first discussion because that explains the basics like the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. It was cool. She hopefully will come to church with us this Sunday as well :) 
So a lot of hope for a lot of people.  This work is so amazing.  Transfers are next week and we won't know 'til Monday who's going and who's staying. but I was thinking, I can't go yet!!!!  There's too much to do here and so many people to work with!  I'm realizing it's going to be hard to go to Brazil.  I'm truly learning to love these people and sincerely want to help them.  Think of what the Gospel does for you and what your life might be without it.  It's sometimes hard to see where these people are coming from, but I know the Lord knows and can help me and you gain some measure of understanding.  I LOVE missionary work!!! I'd say the hardest part is people rejecting it.  They have no idea what they are missing, but they're still good people.  I know the Lord knows their names and He is watching over them and will lead people to them, but hopefully a seed was planted. 
I don't know how you find time to read all this each week hahah.   I love you all!!!!!!  This Gospel makes our lives so complete.  I know that as we realize what the Atonement and the Gospel does for us, that our desires to share it will increase.  Invite people out of love, letting them know you love them.  The Holy Ghost can be with us to lead us, to guide us, to comfort us, to warn us, and to help cleanse us as we repent.

Hugs and Kisses!
-- Love always and forever
Sister Harston

Monday, October 28, 2013

Hey there minha familia!  How's life?  I've been getting Brynne's e-mails each week from the MTC which is fun because I totally understand what she's experiencing now! haha I was freaking out thinking that Ashley had had her baby, but I guess now I'll be freaking out this week! hahah jk  I'm super excited for her.  You can tell her that I tell Brynnlee? that she can be born now.  Maybe that'll help speed things up. haha
And names, we write them ALL down, in the back of our planner, on our planning whiteboard, when we plan for the day, and we talk about them with each other all the time, so it's not too hard to remember.  Also, I think the Lord helps with that because their names are important to Him :)  But yeah, lots of notes too help :)  I've only had one door slam.  Usually people are pretty nice and we get a little smile out of them at the very least.  They'll say something like, sorry not really interested I have my own church, so we'll say, well you have a wonderful day. Good to meet you :D then smile real big like. haha  Although, we've been mentioning Family History more too. We've had a couple people interested in that so hopefully we'll be able to get them an appointment with Sister Mackey the family history consultant at the family history center.  Also thanks for getting music ready for me! Muah! I think I'm good on clothes for now :)
Sister Mortensen and I went down there to the family history center, Thursday to learn more about it so we can tell people more as we are inspired to when we meet people.  It was super cool!!! You can go to and then Resources then Family History.  You log in with your account info and you're IN. If you click on the temple thing and it has a red star thing next to it,  those are opportunities of people who are related to you in someway that need their temple work done, so look up Roy Kirby and Lavina Wagner.  Brother Mackey and I were looking at the Gahlbecks. We think we found the husband, but you look up census record and can see their name written in and stuff.  It was so cool!!! I wish we could go back to do more, but our work is for the living right now :) But you can do it for me! haha but seriously.  It's the coolest thing ever.  It was kinda exciting doing some digging to find people. 
There's only a few large dogs here, the rest are little Chihuahuas.  So no big dog chases, but little dog chases galore.  They like to think they're big and tough. haha This one time a little Chihuahua was going after Sister Mortensen's foot while we were biking by. looked so funny, she was afraid to hurt the little guy. baha And
So this week was incredible.  Linda is totally progressing, She's all the way into 2 Nephi 10 or something in her reading.  We met with her and Sister Mackey came with us :) Member missionary work! She was seriously the perfect person to bring.  We taught the first lesson which wasn't totally smooth as it was the first time Sister Mortensen and I had taught a full lesson together, but it was still good.  Sister Mackey had some great input and talked a bit about family history and Linda is totally interested because she doesn't know hardly anything about her family.  The Spirit was really strong and I got to invite her to be baptized.  She pulled back a little bit and said she wants to study a bit more.  She committed to read and pray to know if the Book of Mormon is true and if Joseph Smith was a prophet.  Sister Mackey was really reassuring to her and bore testimony as did I and Sister Mortensen.  I love the feelings the Spirit of the Lord brings to our hearts.  It feels sooooooo good :)  We're meeting with Linda on Tuesday to follow up and hopefully teach about the Plan of Salvation.
The next day we got to see and talk with Caroline and Mike.  Mike is a little quieter, but Caroline, my goodness she already knows everything!  She's never read the book of Mormon but she knows the Bible really well.  She was asking some hard questions too :)  She would say, "I believe that Satan doesn't understand God's plan otherwise he would have made the people like Jesus" And she said so many other I believes, that were totally in line with the Gospel of Jesus Christ!!! She's totally been prepared and doesn't even know it.  We were at their house for an hour and a half just talking about the Gospel.  I didn't want her to think we were just agreeing with her so we could convert her, but seriously pretty much everything she was saying was true doctrine.  We went through the first lesson and even into the Plan of Salvation.  She doesn't fully understand priesthood power being restored, but she committed and wants to read the book of Mormon and compare it to the Bible using the footnotes. 
And this e-mail is just getting longer!!! haha So we went and saw a referral we got from the Sister missionaries in Garden City.  This family, Lynnsi and James Green have 4 kids, I think, that were put into the foster care system because of major problems with their house.  2 of the kids were put with a Mormon family in Garden which the Sister there know, thus the referral because the kids real parents aren't LDS.  We went and saw them and they feel their family has been torn apart and are working really hard to clean up the house and fix it.  They are very humble, and are living humbly, but both have jobs.  They're totally open to learning more and so we gave them each a book of Mormon and talked about how the Gospel blesses families and in time, their family can be sealed together for eternity :)  We're going to go over there hopefully this week to help them paint and such :) So excited for them.
The Lord is hastening His work! He's preparing people to receive His restored gospel more than ever before!!!! I'm  humbled that He has trusted His precious children to be taught by all the missionary youngens here.   I know that when we can feel the Holy Ghost working In us, we can be assured that we are doing good, and that we have been forgiven of sins.  I know that the Lord is blessing all of His children in countless ways.  I love having time every day to read the scriptures, study Preach My Gospel, conference talks, and to be instructed by Him.
Today is Zone P-day so we get to go to Liberal and carve pumpkins with everybody.  So fun!  Good way to let loose so we can focus even better the rest of the week.  The Lord knows us so well :)  Also, for Halloween we can't go out tracting past 6pm.  We can go places we have appointments and some of the ward members have invited us over which is super nice of them :)  Anyways, Love you! Love hearing from you! "For O how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that is the founder of peace, yea, even the Lord, who has redeemed his people; yea, him who has granted salvation unto his people" (Mosiah 15:18).  Yep, that pretty much says it all! Hope you enjoyed the pictures!

-- Love always and forever!
Sister Harston