Wednesday, March 26, 2014

So this last week was crazy! It went in a big ol rush! and now I'm in Holton (we're opening the area!!!)  with the coolest person ever, Sister Hartung :)  Feel free to look up the town on Google. haha teeny tiny! and yes, today it has been snowing all morning.

So cool to see that picture of the family at the wedding! Everyone looks so good it's ridiculous. haha So good to see everone so happy, and it looks like a lot of the family came!  And Sedale has a new girlfriend perhaps? But honestly, so proud of Dad for sending that from his phone. hahahah you're a goof :D Amy can feel free to send any pointers she would like so I can be as strong as she was by the end of her mission :) Geniel is going to be a fabulous missionary.  I bet her mission president will be super excited once he meets her.  Hope your test goes well mom!!!!!  That's incredible that Amy trained so much! Shows she's an amazing leader :)  

Since transfers were on Wednesday, I had to say bye to a lot of people on Tuesday. Debbie told us she had doctors appointments and we wouldn't be able to see her til after 5, but we had appointments after five, so we asked if we could come over in the morning.  She said, "How about right now?" AHH!! we didn't have the car and we were going to help a lady in our ward, Sister Bock with cleaning up her business, soon, so we ran to Debbie's, Hence the t-shirt. haha She's the one with the knitted hat.  (And yes, I realize I look like a giant haha) Fortunately after working with Sister Bock, she gave us a ride home so we could change.

 I seriously will miss so many people in Emporia! but I still have their addresses so it'll be just fine :)  Holton has been prepared by the Lord.  In being here for only 5 days so far, we have 5 NEW INVESTIGATORS!  Brad Stanley, DJ, Tammie, Melanie, and Brenda. We have a few appointments for this week and it is so exciting.  The ward was so awesome on Sunday.  Apparently people were excited for Sisters to be in the ward :)  Many of them came up to us saying, "When can we feed you?"  So sweet!  The relief society president is actually making a trip up here tonight to bring us a blanket, a screwdriver, and dinner.  My goodness, I feel we'll be spoiled. haha  But we're pretty secluded up here. It's a 35 min drive to Topeka where the Elders in our District live. haha  But Holton is so neat!!  It has so pretty cool antique homes and people have been REALLY nice here, waving as they drive by, welcoming us when we introduce ourselves.  The Blue house in the picture?  We live on the second story. our address is:

101 Iowa #2
Holton, Kansas

It kind of reminds me of home, the houses just aren't as spread out and there's less trees :) But it'll be a branch eventually! that's the goal. haha As for now, we drive down to Topeka for church, which isn't bad.  There is also an Indian Reservation near by that we've been on a couple times to find service opportunities, but we're not allowed to proselyte there.  

Anyways, I have seen the Lord's hand everyday and I am so thankful for His help in figuring out where things are, and in finding people. "And now, as the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just - yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them - therefore Alma thought it was expedient that they should try the virtue of the word of God" (Alma 31:5).  The Spirit is here and is working on the hearts of the people.  It's a marvelous work and a wonder, and I get to see it firsthand.  What a blessing!!!!  I know this gospel is true and I feel my own testimony being strengthened and deepening as I study and testify every day.  It's a powerful and joyful message that we share!!! 

I love you all!!!! Have a splendid week!
-- Love always and forever
Sister Harston

PS picture description:  Debbie's in the black outfit with the knitted hat, Janet has the glasses and super blonde hair

Our awesome Blue House (we live on the second story, and pictures of the inside will be posted next week),  Sister Hartung! having fun haha, and when we got lost on the Indian Reservation :)

So the weather here in Kansas is crazy! One day it started out at 80 degrees and by nighttime it was 20s.  What a drop!  But it has been warming up a bit.  It's been around the 50s and 60s and occasionally dropping down to the 30s again.  We've been sooooo excited to not have to wear tights. haha Also........I'm getting transferred to Holton.  I little teeny town of about 3000 people. I have crazy mixed feelings because we've been making progress finding people here in Emporia, and you just LOVE them that you don't want to give them up.  But I guess that's a lesson in humility too.  I know sister Heger (who is a splendid person)  will take care of them all and the Lord will too.  Sister Heger and I have been doing really well working together.  We keep our spirits up and do pretty well to pick up where the other is faltering (like positivity on a hard day).  She has a great desire to work hard and do things right so we get along great :)  She is a pro at learning directions too so she's got the area down. I'm going to miss her tons!!! Seriously blessed with the best companions Sisters Heger, Mortensen, and Tycz.  My new companion will be Sister Hartung.  And she is awesome too!!!  It's going to be really funny going around saying Hartung and Harston together. Confusing!! haha

SO glad that Grandma's pain level is down!! Whoohoo!!! Prayers work :D  So glad to hear of family jumping in to help her out because there are a lot of families who don't.  What a blessing and support system we have!!! And YES Dad, I was listening and learning and crying if you remember. haha :)  There are 215 missionaries currently serving in the Kansas Wichita Mission, so when Elder Bednar came, we got a mission-wide photo which I hope to see at some point and send on.  I did get the package and thank you they fit wonderfully :)  I'll actually be sending a package home of several things I no longer need especially since I have to pack up all my stuff and move to Holton.  Glad you enjoyed the pictures. haha Sister Heger and I  really are having a lot of fun together and can't help but be goofy sometimes . haha  Happy to hear that Tabitha is ok! Something we talked about at church on Sunday, was how our church is unique where we invite the whole family from the get-go.  The kids don't have to learn to be quiet first, but that's where they learn :)  I love going to church and it flies by when you have the right attitude, desires, and the Spirit.  So grateful to be able to partake of the sacrament each week, to be forgiven, and start again, trying to be better all the time. 

Brother and Sister Hirsh did come with us to see Debbie and Brother Hirsh was so funny.  He did in a loving way say, why in the world haven't you stopped smoking? Do it now, don't wait. haha She didn't feel overwhelmed at all but told us later that she thinks their are super cool people. haha the Elders also came to challenge Debbie to quit and got her to commit to quitting on the 18th, so TOMORROW!!!!  She has doctors, and family, and friends, and people who don't even know her rooting for her to quit which is definitely helping. When the Elders were over, Debbie for the first time ever, actually prayed and asked Heavenly Father to help her quit!!!! :D  Totally smiled when she said that :)  She's felt that she could do it on her own, but now she's realizing that He can help her!  I will let her know that she's in your prayers, thank you!!! 

Saturday Sister Heger and were picked up by some members from her last area, Andover, who took us to the baptism in Wichita of a family that Sister Heger found and taught.  Such a sweet experience!  It was also fun to meet some of the people that Sister Heger has talked about.

Pam, we hope to see before I head out.  She knows our message is true she just has some hang ups.  Sister Davis came with us who is a convert to the church.  We hadn't really told her our plan to talk to Pam, but she said everything right.  It was so cool to see how in tune with the spirit she was.  The gospel does not destroy or take away from what you knew from the past, but adds to it in a marvelous way! 

We talked to Tony and Rhonda and they showed us a fun game that is Tetris Jenga, so much harder than normal Jenga! haha We just hope they feel the Spirit and the truth of the Book of Mormon as they read about the Savior coming to the Americas.  It's an amazing inspired Book!!! So many addresses to write down so I can keep in touch!!!

We visited Maria Gonzalez again :)  She was baptized when she was 10 with her grandma, and hasn't really been back to church in a long time.  And Sister Tycz and I found her knocking on her door!! Miracles are happening :)  She agreed to review the lessons, and I think she'll come to church soon because it seems like she really misses the experiences she had there in the past.

We also found a potential investigator, Andy, with awesome potential.  She has had some crazy health experiences in the past with a weak heart, and totally understands what the Spirit feels like.  She said that she's been to a few different churches but didn't get the feeling she was looking for. So, we invited her to our church :)  Unfortunately she didn't come on Sunday, but we/Sister Heger will see her this week and actually teach her the first lesson.  So neat!

This is what makes it hard to leave, but I know there will be miracles in my next area and hopefully a baptism :) Jacob 4:8 "Behold, great and marvelous are the works of the Lord. How unsearchable are the depths of the mysteries of him; and it is impossible that man should find out all his ways.  and no man knoweth of his ways save it be revealed unto him; wherefore, bretheren, despise not the revelations of God."  This entire work, works through revelation from God!  It is amazing to be a firsthand witness. 

Novel like usual. haha  Love you all dearly!!!  I shouldn't need anything sent, but Thank you!!!!!
-- Love always and forever
Sister Harston

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

So I always start and respond to all your lovely e-mails, but I'm bursting to tell you (since we weren't allowed until after the fact)  Elder Bednar came and spoke to our whole mission on Friday!!!!!!!! Oh my word it was the greatest thing/day ever.  Since everyone from the mission was there I got to see Sister Mckenzie Howell, Remember her from girls camp?  And Sister Tycz :) and Elder Sweeten, and Elder Carlson, and the Williams from when I was in Dodge City.  And what a sweet powerful spirit was there as Elder Bednar guided the discussion.  It was like watching the effects of the wind as it goes through a crowd.  He asked us questions and taught us and was incredibly perceptive to our needs :)  I know the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is led by men called of God in an organized way.  We met a couple who believe in apostles and that there are many of them and they are called by God.  Well, then anyone could claim that.  There has got to be organization!!!  That's how God has always worked :D 

Elder Bednar's main topic I would say was teaching people to act and to treat other people as agents, not objects.  Often times when we're teaching, we just go on and on and on. When we ask a question, we're looking for a specific answer and playing the "guess what's inside my head" game which leaves people frustrated and confused - definitely not an environment for the Spirit to be evident in.  Elder Bednar led the whole thing with inspired questions that didn't have a right answer, but were truly key to helping the person be led to find an answer inside themselves that helped them come to their own realization, and better recognize God's divine hand in their life as they strive to be obedient to and to follow Him.  And yes, Elder Bednar is HILARIOUS!!!!  He did in fact say the words bumfuzzled and flabbergasted. hahahahaha One of the points that hit home for me was when he said something like about not going to dance around the point, but being bold and a little blunt because he only has one chance/opportunity to speak with us.  He definitely spoke something's as a wake up call, but it was always in love :) When the Holy Ghost speaks reproof to our hearts, do we get angry? No!! because it is done in such a sweet manner. But that made me realize how bold we need to be when someone opens their door to talk with us.  We may only have that one chance with them!!!

Well there's that shpeel and believe me it could have been a TON longer, haha but yay for the FBI documents being done!  People at the Bednar talk kept saying, "You're still here?" YES and happy to be!!!  Anyways, that is so CRAZY that Amy will be home.  That flew by, but she'll be home before Stephanie and Richie have their baby, so that's awesome!  Will you tell me how her English is? haha  Marital discord.....hahaha Dad!!! I was guessing you were on the Ambulance or something, but thanks for double the e-mails! hehe I will definitely be praying for Grandma!!!! Also, can't believe you're already prepping for Girls Camp, I guess it's only about 3 months away though. Thanks for sending me what I needed!!! That will be super helpful :)

It seems like you've really seen how other people in the ward are great examples mom :)  Don't forget how great you are too!!!  I always got excited when I would see you and dad and Grandma get up to bear your testimonies because I  KNEW it was going to be powerful and sooo good :)  I think that's why I always loved testimony meeting most, because instead of people reading off a paper, they were going by the spirit.  So much more powerful!!!  It's sad to hear Rick Koshyck is doubting.  I wish he could remember the moments of peace and joy that he did find in the gospel.  Is he at least friends with some people in the church still?  That has got to be hard on Lydia.  I really am glad that those examples you talked about, mom, are there to be angels to help bear her up :)

Katrina!!!  those pictures are seriously so FUN!!! You look like you're having a blast :) haha  Wait Tyler's getting married that soon?!! Ah!!  and Steph is so cute! As for the Book of Mormon goal, we passed out one, and a few pamphlets, so we have a couple people to visit again which is great :)

Debbie has been sick still so she wasn't able to go to church on Sunday, but NEXT Sunday for sure!! Sister Scribner in our ward has been awesome about calling and checking every Sunday if she needs a ride or not.  This week we have a new game plan to help her out.  Because smoking is not helping her health at all!!!  And she needs to be around for a long while longer :) Brother and Sister Hirsh we hope will come with us this week to see her as Brother Hirsh has had to quit smoking. We hope they'll help Debbie see that she has so much great potential and smoking is holding her back!!  We hope she'll seek out more faith in the Savior and His Atonement for the enabling power to get through trials, and be happy!!

Pam officially told us that she feels comfort and peace when she reads in the Book of Mormon!!!  She just can't see that as her answer yet that it's true.  She wants to do more research of going back and forth with the Book of Mormon and the Bible.  Pretty soon, I think she'll know everything better than I do! haha She is so awesome and has such a great desire to follow Christ, I just can't leave Emporia yet!!! I want to be there for these wonderful people!!!  It's killing me because we'll find out about transfers next Monday, and I really hope I'm staying but I'll go where the Lord wants me to go!!

Well I love you all MUCH!!!!  Have a wonderful week and KNOW that as you're doing good, the Spirit will be there :)

-- Love always and forever!
Sister Harston

Sunday, March 9, 2014

HELLOOOO!!!!  Thanks for the greatest pictures on the planet!!  Whew, I almost didn't recognize Ethan, he's huge! haha  and did you get the FBI fingerprint stuff? 

That is the best aha moment mom!!!!!!  The Sacrament really is all encompassing :)  We need it every Sunday. We've been learning about how many other churches do their communion only once a month.  I would die. haha I make enough mistakes in a week let alone a whole month. I'll for sure tell Janet of your proudness :)  She would have come this past Sunday but it was cancelled due to snow and ice :/ bummer!  But next Sunday will be GREAT :)  Thanks for the addresses!! Got to keep in touch with my favorite people, my FAMILY!!  Those morsels and invitations really do make a difference though! Also church activities are the greatest invite because there's no pressure.  This Friday we have a ward variety show that we're inviting tons of people to and telling our members to invite all of Emporia too. haha Also, sounds like Sister Frey called you. haha She's who we call the mission mom and she requested us to give her our mother's phone numbers, "because mom's get worried when their kids are away from home" She is the sweetest.  She also just had surgery a couple weeks ago and got kidney stones or something taken out, and she only thinks of others anyways :) Talk about selfless!

Back surgery for grandma Harston? sounds a little scary and intimidating.  I will pray for all to go well!!!!!!!!!  Because I love you very much Grandma and want you as happy and healthy and pain free as possible :D 

We are looking to hand out few books of Mormon this week too!!!  We were really trying to find more investigators this past week and we may have found 2. This week will tell :)  We saw many members to help motivate them to pray with faith and help them know how to do it.  There is a talk by Elder Bednar that is called "Learning by Faith" and it  is fantastic.  He talks all about how we need to teach by the spirit but also allow others to learn by asking them inspired questions and letting them actively participate in the learning process.  We are working on applying that to our teaching as well. 

Pam has been having some crazy weird sickness going on and then started having weird side effects to the medicine the doctors put her on.  Sheesh!  She let us stop by anyways because she said she'd just be sitting by herself otherwise.  I really hope she gets better soon though.  Not fun.  She made a cool realization though that as missionaries, we're not out to get people and to make them a part of our church, but we're simply spreading the truth! and allowing people to accept or reject it.  So that was cool :)  It was also a reminder that I need to study "How to Begin Teaching" in Preach My Gospel again. haha

Debbie is still on date for the 15th but it's tentative because she's still smoking.  She is just under a lot of stress and that's how she copes!  It's hard to find another outlet when you've relied on that source for so long.  She knows everything is true, but something about her situation needs to change so she can accomplish the goals she has set for herself.  She had us over for lunch the other day and boy her cooking is good :) She committed to live the law of tithing and the law of the fast!  She's just made so much progress from the first time we met her til now.  She's such a sweet lady!

Oh, funny-ish story, as we were tracting on Saturday, we knocked on a door and a lady let us in.  Her dad who was home too is the pastor for the Apostolic Tabernacle church which was interesting. haha  He let us come in and listen to him for a while and telling us straight out that our church is wrong.  He kept saying, "now one of us is wrong, and I believe it's you."  He wasn't angry about it, but pretty straight forward.  They believe that God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are one being and he recited some scriptures to us, and we even asked about the scripture that relates God speaking when Christ was baptized, but he had his own explanation for it that I guess makes sense to him.  But all of John 17 explains the distinct and divine roles of the Godhead, it's right there!!!  I felt oddly calm the whole time, and a bit sad that he was missing such plain and precious truths.  Sister Heger had had enough of hearing him bash and testified of the role of the Book of Mormon and was AWESOME!!!  I get a little nervous when situations become a bit contentious, but she handled it well.  So grateful for Sister Heger!  Hadn't really felt the Spirit until that point, so that's a witness in and of itself that saying the words I testify and bearing testimony are key!

We met with this guy Adam Rameriez this week.  He's met with Elders a couple years ago, but apparently never progressed.  We tried to see if the Elders could meet with him, because we're not supposed to unless the situation requires it, but he honestly doesn't want to talk to them because he said they don't mesh with each other. So, we took the opportunity to see where he's at.  He has some interesting view points and we were very honest with him and a bit blunt.  He doesn't seem willing to change at all though.  He likes his lifestyle and knows drinking is wrong, "but I only do it like 4 times a year, so is that bad?" haha funny thing is he wants to meet with us again, but he's also not willing to study and read in the Book of Mormon.  He's a 22 year old goof!  He has some potential, but he also has to not be so wishy-washy.

Well, I love love love you all!!!!   I'm grateful for the opportunity that Fast Sunday gives us to show our faith and strengthen it and bring our focus to where it needs to be, that is, in our Savior and Redeemer!!!  I love Him and thank my Heavenly Father for that great and marvelous gift of the Atonement.  Interesting fact, the New Testament only says the word Atonement once.  And the Book of Mormon refers to atone or atonement many more times than that.  It is a witness of Him!!!!  I know it :)

Thanks for your prayers and love and support!!!!
(PS as you can tell, we're having fun :) haha and It was warm one day!)

-- Love always and forever
Sister Harston