Monday, April 21, 2014

Ola minha familia e meus amigos!  What a wonderful Easter weekend!!! Just right off the bat, I hope you all have seen the video Because of Him on  It's 2 and a half minutes about Jesus Christ and the many blessings we have because of Him!!!  It's short but really powerful.

Dad, I truly loved those songs from the Easter Cantata and it seems not many other people (besides those from Georgetown) know of them, but they're SO GOOD!   That is fabulous that so many people came to church! if their hearts are open to it, they won't help but feel how the Spirit is always present in the church building!!! We gave our investigator DJ a tour after church on Sunday, and the best part (and last part) is always the best because we end up in the chapel!!  So cool :)  You definitely have the best kids though dad! Hahaha ;)  you're officially in the Sunday School presidency?!  How's it going so far? (Also, the watch tan competition has officially begun because it's finally sunny outside. haha)

Geniel leaves in a week?! Oh my goodness gracious!!  She'll be such a wonderful missionary :) Glad that Brynlee is feeling better now.  Katrina will probably have the best time with Kaylie!  So fun.  Good ol' wind :) We definitely have plenty of it to share here in Kansas!!!  (we just don't have any mountains to look at. haha)  We definitely have a lot to do to prepare for, for the future.  I can't believe how many times in the Book of Mormon that it says "they went forth making preparations..." or something like that. And the coolest promise ever is that those who are converted to the Lord will never fall away :)  Converted to me is understanding the why behind everything God has asked us to do, really understanding and applying it by acting in faith :)  The Spirit is so much more evident in our lives as we are obedient! I know it is easier as a missionary because of our strict schedule and how studying and teaching is our whole life, but as we take time to do the things that are most important, He will give us time to do what we need to.   That is so awesome that you are seeking to talk to all those you don't know at church mom!! If you don't who will? The members have been so wonderful with feeding us when we're in Topeka, driving all the way out to Holton to come to our appointments, letting us sleep over Sunday and Monday so we can save on miles....etc!!!! I feel so deeply grateful for their sacrifices for the work, but I know the Lord is blessing them whenever they help in the work and help us. He always blesses us with a hundred times more that we ever gave :) I bet that family that you took the package too was REALLY appreciative for your service :)  Almost done with school!! yay!!!  How many days til summer?? Easter was wonderful and the bishop's family had us over for a huge dinner.   My eyes were bigger than my stomach and I ate way too much of that meal. haha 

Katrina, I'm glad your finals went well!!!  I bet it felt so good after your last one and you were finally done :)  Who's your area manager for Little Ceasers?  (an elder in my district, his dad owns a bunch of them so that's mostly a question from him. haha)  Your arms are going to be so strong. haha  We definitely went there in Provo because the pizza was so cheap and the bread was yummy. Religion classes can be really hard! You should definitely not feel bad because I know you worked super hard, and I also got a C- in my New Testament class....but I'm glad you learned much! 

Ashley, just want to say I love you!!!!  And I know you are already relying on prayer, but it really works!  

Whew, so now really quick for this week, we talked to SO MANY WONDERFUL PEOPLE!!!  We got to pass out fliers about the Because of Him video so we talked to over 70 people in 2 days. whoohoo!!!  Lots of walking,but we really hope to see the results of those efforts this week :)  We even handed out some in spanish! mine is limited but the Lord definitely helped and we have a new investigator who can speak english, but is still learning.  Her name is Claudia. :) after we spoke with her, her little 3 year old son walked around with us to the other trailers pointing out where we should go and where his friends lived.  The Lord works in mysterious ways but that little boy helped us to knock on more doors than we planned to. :) 

Sherrie's still on for being baptized this Saturday!! we have much to teach and prepare but oh it is so WORTH IT!!!  What an amazing experience that I am so blessed to be a part of  :)  We found 4 new investigators this week too. Miracles!!!  One of them is the daughter of our investigators Melanie and Raymond, and she has spoken with missionaries before!!! It was perfect timing because she was just sitting in her car in her driveway figuring out their new stereo.  :)  

I know the Lord is doing more work than we are and I'm so grateful for His help and guidance.  I know this would not be possible without the Spirit.  I know my Savior lives.  I know He loves us an incredible amount!  I know that He truly saved me from more than I'll ever know, since my life would have gone in a completely different direction if I hadn't grown up in God's church.  I've had so much hope and and I'm working always to increase my faith in Jesus Christ, which He also helps me with.  

I love all of you so much and hope you have a wonderful week!!!
-- love always and forever
Sister Harston
 PS I got the package,  Sister Hartung and I early in the morning on Easter, we made our own Easter baskets from the packages we got from home, and Kansas' form of wild turkeys

Hello everybody!!! So Kansas weather is weird. Have I mentioned that? two days ago it got to 90 degrees as we were walking around talking to people and it snowed last night?? Don't get it, but it's an adventure. haha 

Katrina I'm glad you got my letter!!!  And Greg's off the hook because he and Ashley wrote me an awesome e-mail last week :) I'm glad you'll get to see family soon.  Where is Lindsey Durner getting married?  It seems like forever ago that she got engaged, but I'm excited for her.  Mom says you have a job?? where at? How were finals?

Dad, it was fun!  I don't think I've even seen the lambs picture yet. haha we saw sister Christensen at the Relief Society even this week (which our investigator Melanie came too :)) and she said, "I know your girls' first names" "What? how?!"  "You're dad's told me.  Also my daughter saw it on your hair brush when you spent the night."  haha I guess the secret's out ;) Sister Hartung says that she thinks I will get my visa this transfer, but I'm not sure about that.  I can't go until after the 26th at least because Sherrie Boyke is getting baptized on the 26th and confirmed on the 27th!  What a golden lady she is.  I'm glad Kris is doing a little better.  I really hope he'll be able to have some independence.  Conference really went by fast, so you're normal dad! haha well maybe more of a neutral person who's not in gear.  Bahahah!  I'm glad you and mom will get to see the grandkids and everybody up in Idaho :)

So mom, the Elder Davenport has an unknown first name :/  The older man we talked to didn't know it.  All I saw was a black and white photo of him.  He was really tall and had dark hair and a hat, but that's not much of a description to go off of. I don't know what Grandpa's siblings or cousins look like so I have no idea.  We've caught 5 mice so far and haven't had any more the last few days, so we're hoping that's it and that they haven't just moved outside since the weather's nicer.  Does Adam have another test coming up here pretty quick? I CANNOT believe that Ethan will be 1 already! sheesh!  Good thing you'll catch them before they go.  What is the day that Geniel reports to the MTC? Priesthood power is truly amazing.  I have felt that too as you shared your experience of finally being able to rest after your car accident, and also after your stroke when the noise in your head finally hushed.  The blessing I received from President Bitnof before I left have lasted as I continue to act in faith upon the things that were said.   (Thanks to Katrina for writing them down for me!) We talked with a lady named Julie who is less-active, and she asked us why we need to be sealed as families when we're judged as individuals.  As I answered I thought of it in a way I hadn't before.  The sealing seals us to our Heavenly Father.  As we are sealed to our parents, who are sealed to their parents, and cousins and siblings sealed to their spouses, and their spouses to their own families... it creates a whole network of strength, of power, and love :)  What a joyful experience!  Also, the package arrived today :) I know just who to give the book to as well!  THank you thank you! my companion and I will enjoy it very much :)

So some more AMAZING miracles from this week.  We had a lesson with Sherrie and DJ together :) Brother and Sister Goodrick came.  We talked to them about the Word of Wisdom.  The spirit was so strong. As we all taught, questioned, and discussed the topic, she agreed to live it.  DJ did as well and picked his own baptismal date for the 6th of June when he turns 18 :) It also gives him the chance to stop smoking. Sherrie admitted that she felt warmed up by the spirit and it was cool to see her desire to keep that feeling.  She's really working toward her baptism next saturday.  She came to church with Ashley this Sunday for sacrament meeting (she had an appointment to get to after) and it was a little crazy trying to keep Ashley's daughter occupied, but Sherrie said she really enjoyed it.  The Elders gave them a tour before church too :)  Sherrie and DJ are incredibly golden.  I can't say i've really done anything besides hand them the pamphlets and a Book of Mormon.  What an amazing experience that I am humbled to be a part of.  That was on Friday.

That day, we also talked with Melanie and Raymond.  I'm not quite sure how much they are taking in, but we're going to their house tomorrow to clean things up :)  Wednesday was SUPERB!  After we had done all of our weekly planning we hit the streets and literally talked to everyone we saw.  The Lord truly gave us strength and guidance. we found two new investigators by knocking on a random door, and a couple potentials.  For instance, a lady named Robin was outside trying to figure out how to work her new grill.  She was in her back yard and we were on the street and there was a big old ditch in between.  We asked her how things were, she seemed pretty friendly, so we asked if we could come over to talk with her a little more, which she accepted!  Wow and she took a Book of Mormon :) 

Sunday after church we went to find some less-actives in the Topeka area.  All them had moved, but one of the ladies who was living there instead invited us in.  We were able to share the whole first lesson and first vision and everything! She said she feels it's true and invited us back for Thursday after Zone Conference.  What incredible experiences!!  I feel so incredibly blessed.  I truly love being out here and I'm totally fine that I haven't gone to Brazil yet.  It'll happen when it needs to :)   I KNOW that the Holy Spirit is our guide.  He doesn't tell us everything to say or do, but as we go and do what we already know we should, Christ is there walking beside us and touching hearts and teaching to their understanding in ways that we never could.  

I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week and a happy Easter!!!!!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Hellooooo!!!   Glad everyone liked conference! I agree that the spirit is so strong as we listen carefully to the speakers and to the Spirit.  Dad, i think I understand now when you said no one else would want to read the notes you took because it was all revelation for you, not just writing down what they said.  That is so scary that you almost hit a tree!! I am so so so so glad you were okay, but I really hope Chris Bingham heals well!!! It's true that everyone's challenges are unique and they're all hard! But they sure shape us for the better or for the worse depending on how we react to them. 

It's so nice to hear you got to go to the temple! We were talking to a family not to long ago who were talking about some things that they kind of have a little mixed up.  Sister Hartung and I were both thinking, "If you would go back to the temple, you wouldn't have to wonder!"  It's a special place :) And more family names! that's good stuff :) Speaking of family, I don't know how many davenports there are in the world, but we talked to an older man who has lived in Kansas his whole life, but was baptized by an elder Davenport.  He showed me a picture and it isn't Grandpa, but i was wondering if one of his brothers or something served in the Kansas area.  

Conference is seriously a wonderful time of revelation and I'm sad to have to wait for the conference ensign until the mission sends a copy to us up in Holton.  I'm just selfish though because I want 2 copies of it instead so I can mark it up. haha It's just so good!! Sister Hartung and I were laughing a bit that they mentioned tornadoes a couple times because it's that time of year here in Kansas!  But Elder Holland definitely lays down the law. haha I'd have to say my favorite one was probably Eyring? It's hard to say because they'r all so great!

We've caught 4 mice so far, and Sister Hartung even got up the courage to throw one away. So gross, but we've decided they are all boys so they won't be able to have babies. haha  Yay for Easter Break! That'll be a fun trip :) Ashley and Greg sent my some pictures of Brynlee and she is growing fast it's ridiculous. haha 

Way to go for Christina.  She has always had a beautiful voice, which definitely runs in their family. And It was probably a good thing that Amy's infection happened in the US and not the Phillippines?  But I'm glad it's taken care of :)  What are her next plans? And Nichole and Stephanie are both due in June right? Nichole! I still need a picture!! :P New areas are really cool though, because there are so many people who have not had the chance at all to hear about the restored gospel, so we're giving them the opportunity :D

This week has been truly amazing and crazy.  Wednesday we ran outside real quick right before companionship study to put our trash out, and the front door (which locks automatically) closed behind us.  It was drizzly and cold and we hadn't finished our hair, makeup, didn't have our phone, keys, our bags, or anything!!  We knocked and knocked and knocked on the front door and waited and waited and waited for our neighbors to come down, but they didn't. We ended up stopping by Sherrie's house who was miraculously home (due to sickness) who let us borrow her phone and call someone.  Anyways, long story short, we were stuck outside our apartment for about 5 hours.... but Sherrie was planning on cancelling our appointment for that night because she wasn't feeling well, until we showed up and then she changed her mind. that night was a totally spiritual lesson and she accepted a baptismal date for the 26th of this month!!!! How cool is that?!!!  So amazing.

Also, we taught an older man, Butch who we met in Denison and he surprised us by saying he wants to change, he wants forgiveness, and he wants to be baptized too!!!!! WOW! We set his date for the 3rd of May, he wants to move it up if he can, but we just need to make sure all is good from his past.  

The Lord's hand is in the work and His miracles continue!! What a blessing it was to be a part of those amazing experiences :)

Love you all! stay safe, stay sane. haha

-- Love always and forever
Sister Harston

Thursday, April 3, 2014

ola!! So I got to talk to a lady from Brazil for a little bit.  Whew, I'm in trouble. hahaha  Haven't heard anyone speak Portuguese in a while.  But, thank you thank you for the wonderful photos!!!  I can't believe that both of them are married! It blows my mind. haha  I had no idea that Chelsea was getting married that soon.  But everyone looks great, made me chuckle :)   

The women's broadcast was wonderful wasn't it?!  That's super sweet of Katrina to send that to you mom. Perfect timing :) How incredibly strong we can be, with the help of the Lord, when we keep our covenants!!  And as for the death of the Seller's grandparents, I'm glad that they have the hope that the gospel brings!!!  The members have continued to be amazing.  We've been trying to plan out how we might stay the night in Topeka on Monday nights so that we might save on miles, so we will already be there for our District meeting the following day. 

Good luck on finals KC!!!!  10 pages is a lot. I dont' know if I've ever written that much either.  I think I did 8 once maybe? May have blocked that from my memory. haha  I hope rapping has a lot of bad rap so you can make it long.... ;)  Homeless for a whole week, that'll be crazy fun :) Also, so sorry but I'll for sure send a letter today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Can't believe yet another teacher will have to come in to Otter Creek!  I sure hope she's a keeper :) Also, way to go on the test! That's honestly really impressive because you're working full time too!!!!  That little girl does sound a little challenging, but I'm glad she has moment of recognizing how wonderful you are :) 
Fun fact about out cute old house.  It really is old and makes funny noises, so the clanking Sister Hartung heard coming from our kitchen sink 2 days after we got here, she suspected to be a friendly ghost haunting our house. haha A couple days later, we had made some cookies to give in thanks to some of the members who really helped us out, and we set them on a plate and left them on the counter.  In the morning, I saw a cookie in the sink and said, "Sister Hartung, is this your cookie? You could have thrown it away if you didn't want it, haha"  Last night, We both heard another clank in our sink, so we decided to check it out.  Another cookie in the sink with a bite out of it!!! This officially means there's a mouse or two in our apartment.  Blegh!  We have to buy mouse traps today. 

Also, Dad I can't believe you read my e-mail. haha and you know me too well. Other people need a chance to bear their testimony since I get to every day!!!!  And see, you're the strong sturdy one that everyone relies on!!! It's so cool that as we help others, taking no thought for ourselves, that's when we truly start becoming what God has seen as our potential all along.

So when opening an area, they don't give you instructions. So we've been trying to find find find!! We knock on door and people's responses have been so kind.  We've also been going to houses of members on the ward directory who no one has visited in years.  They were kind also, and know they need to get back to church, but they just don't have any support in that area.  We've told the bishop about them and hope those people will feel ours and the wards love real soon.  A lot of the people here in Holton have never seen the missionaries before and a few haven't heard about Mormons at all.   It just shows how much we really need to share it and publish it because so many people have no idea!!!  The Lord has really been blessing us because usually, you find maybe one or two people from knocking on a lot of doors, and we've found 5! It's so amazing :D 

We've been looking for service opportunities and haven't been successful so far, so we decided to clean the little laundromat here in town.  It was pretty gross, but it seems like many people use it.  I got the opportunity to share the gospel in spanish!!! It was pretty rough, I'm not going to lie, because she seemed confused at what I was saying about the gospel, but we had a pretty good conversation (in my opinion haha)  She said she lives on Wisconsin, so we're going to knock on a couple doors down there and we hope to find her again and give her a spanish temple card so she can actually fully understand our message.  (since I didn't have anything in spanish when I met her)

So to back track a little so you can understand how great of a miracle this is, we went to visit a member in our area, Sister Jackson so we might introduce ourselves.  She was very welcoming and shared a referral with us of a lady in the area who had been taught by the missionaries and had been on date at one point, but for some reason never actually go baptized.  Since we didn't have any set appointments, we went right over to see the referral, Jaye Wheeler.  Her husband was a little blunt and said, Not interested!  But we asked if his wife was Jaye and if she was home, and he said, "yeah come on in."  Whew!  So she was really sweet and asked us to go visit her dad and her daughter Shriee Boyke. Well the address she gave us for Shriee wasn't right, so we knocked a few other doors down the street and couldn't find her.  We didn't have Jaye's number either to check back with her.  One day as we were meeting with DJ, (Sister Goodrick came with us and it was unbelievable perfect for her to be there because she was able to relate in amazing ways which was totally inspired because we hadn't met her til, 2 hours before our appointment!) we were teaching him the Plan of Salvation when his family members got home. A couple of them sat down and began to listen!!!  And guess what?! Shriee Boyke was one of them and is apparently his aunt!!! She really wants to learn more and we have a return appointment with her and DJ.  DJ doesn't even actually live at that house but he's there all the time because his cousins live there.  We've been thanking Heavenly Father all week long because that was definitely a miracle of His doing.  

Lately I've been reading an inexpensive copy of the Book of Mormon with a question in mind of "How does faith work?"  So I've been learning much!!  Many times, faith precedes the miracle, where God gives a commandment, someone obediently acts immediately, and God blesses them for it.  But one miracle that came just because He loves us was the biggest gift of all.  The Atonement. What a precious gift.  He's already paid the price, so we have to use it!  I've been thinking in analogies lately so I can explain things better. So picture this.  Someone buys you a brand new beautiful car. They had been saving up, and after a lot of hard work and preparation on their part (with you always in mind) they buy it and deliver it to you.  Would you reject it?  Sure it might be hard to accept it because you feel bad for all they had to go through, but they did it for you.  Our Savior loves us so much.  And the Holy Ghost allows us to feel that.  He's real quiet and often times we don't notice that we were led, but as we look back on it  we can definitely see how there's no way it was us that made that happen.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is so true!!!!! 

 Thanks for your constant love and support that I know is always, simply, there :D I love all of you and pray for you!!!

-- Love always and forever
Sister Harston