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

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