Wednesday, June 18, 2014

College Hill
Hi everybody!!!  So college hill is a little more populated city-like than Holton was, but it's great and Sister Gunderson has a lot of energy and is already really fun to work with.  We're ready to get out and go!  She also has a ukelele and can sing really well so we've been having fun with that :)  We've already been out and chalked up some street corners with "Families can be together forever, Find out how" which was really fun.  We live with Bishop Daley and his family (wife, 2 daughters Abby and Cassie both of whom are thinking about going on missions, and a son Michael) We have a little bedroom and closet and bathroom downstairs that we get to use.  It's kind of funny because they have a big pool in their back yard which is right outside our sliding glass door, so we just keep the blinds closed mostly....hahaha  The ward has been fun to get to know.  They feed us practically every night, but we've also been biking every day.  The Daley's bought a couple of expensive bikes for the sister missionaries to use now and for their kids to use in the future so that's been really really nice :) Won't gain too much weight if were out biking everyday! haha we'll have part time car though. My new address is: 120 N Longford Ct, Wichita, KS 67206

It was definitely a challenge to leave, but I know I have enough room in my heart to love these people too, because God gives us the ability to love more and more as we lose ourselves in His service.  It's really cool because "there is no end to love."  In the orange shirt picture at the bottom, it's Sister VanWagoner who is friends with Helen on facebook. Cool right?!  They did send me off with a bag of treats including brownies, chocolate, peanuts, crackers, etc.  They are too good to us!!! Sure love them.

Mom that is awesome that your talk came together so well. I've been praying for you and your test so I'm sure your score will be great!!! :) That's a cool story that you shared though.  We really don't know anyone until you talk with them.  We have no idea what they've been through so it's always best to be kind first!  So happy to hear you got to go to do a family name at the temple! Always a special experience :) Transfer day was crazy.  We all drove to Wichita and had a song fest of missionaries performing songs that they've written about the Kansas Wichita Mission, and missionary work in general.  These people are SO TALENTED!!  then we had a spiritual devotional which was, of course, a feast :)  I also got to see Sister Tycz, Elder Owens, Elder Sweeten, Sister Heger (who is now a Sister Training Leader in another zone, called it! haah), and a few other awesome missionaries from past areas. Gave Sister Hartung a big old hug too.  Be safe flying to TEXAS! Hope you're having fun :D

DAD, what a crazy,yet cool experience.  I'm glad Chae is doing all right!  I'm also glad you were already prepared to be an instrument in God's hands.  You really never know when God will call your name to go. Let the Holy Spirit guide!  I'm also excited to hear your girls camp experiences.  Is that this week or next?

So miracles are already happening here in College Hill.  On Friday we were biking around to different places, and Sister Gunderson had had the idea to go to this cute little neighborhood, but was second guessing biking that far until I mentioned going there (just cause I didn't know anywhere else she had talked about) and we went over.  We weren't really having any success.  We had to walk through a wealthier part and people there just aren't has receptive.  We were a little discouraged but kept walking.  Sister Gunderson said a little prayer in her heart like, "I know we need to be here who do we need to find?!"  The very next door, a lady named Cathy came out on her porch to see us.  it's 8:50pm She has talked with mormon friends before who gave her a Book of Mormon.  She's been reading it on and off ever since.  She's also been struggling because of the many deaths that have happened recently in her family.  She wasn't sure whether to continue to go to her church or not.  We were able to share about the Plan of Salvation briefly and the Spirit was totally there.  So grateful we followed the Spirit!  Even though we didn't necessarily realize that until afterward.  We also got to talk to two 20 year old young women on their porch earlier that same day.  They had some really good questions and both took copies of the Book of Mormon :)  What a great week!

I know that the Lord is directing us.  Alma 57:26-27 about the sons of Helaman "And now, their preservation was astonishing to our whole army, yea, that they should be spared while there was a thousand of our brethren who were slain.  and we do justly ascribe it to the miraculous power of God, because of their exceeding faith in that which they had been taught to believe - that there was a just God, and whosoever did not doubt, that they should be preserved by his marvelous power.  Now this was the faith of these of whom I have spoken; they are young, and their minds are firm, and they do put their trust in God continually"  Faith is the first step and we must increase it daily or we will lose it. God works according to our faith, and His power is matchless.  I will never ceased to be amazed at the miracles He works according to the little bit of faith we show.  He lives!

I love you all!  Nichole, hope that baby isn't weighing you down too much!  haha  Go forth with faith!

Photos: 1st one is BUTCH!!!  2nd one is the Van Wagoner family.  They always wear orange so we put our $2 orange shirts on to help them scrub down their muddy car.  Liz is the one with a little bit of autism who is sitting on her mom's lap.  3rd Sister Gunderson!!!

-- Love always and forever!
Sister Harston
Ya Done been Transferred

So yes, that's how some Kansans talk. haha but sad but good news is I'm getting transferred to College Hill, Kansas to be companions with a Sister Gunderson.  So sad to leave Holton and the Kaw Valley ward. It's been too good to me, and I love them so stinking much!!! but I know I will love my new area too :)  

Katrina has a boyfriend?! Picture please?! Thanks for the pictures of the nephews and niece.  So cute it made me laugh :P And 23?! I don't believe it!!!  That'll be the best gift ever! Gary is super awesome :)  Don't worry about the depressing birthday song, I'll make sure everyone knows. HA!  Honestly not sure what I'll need...maybe a shirt or some fun earring studs or something? or anything you can think a missionary would need....who knows. haha

Mom, school is out!! Yay!!! Sounds like you have a lot to do before next week. that's exciting! It's really good to hear that Casey Blakley is going on a mission.  It'll be the best thing for him that's for sure!!! I'm praying for you for your final! Blessings blessings blessings coming your way!  :) I love that you know that song mom, it had a new kind of meaning to it when you say it though, because there is truly a lot of strength in a family unit that helps each other to make it back home! what a special gift :D

Dad, I know there's a lot of people who rely on you, but it's so great to see how you get it!!! the gospel will help them more than we ever could.  You've always been a really good listener :) putting a testimony in a Book of Mormon makes it an even better gift!  also, hope you enjoyed the Goobers!  Can't believe that Liam is 3 either.  So crazy.  Katrina sent me a picture of him shooting Ethan in the mouth with a water gun. SO FUNNY!  Greg and Ashley got a cat?! Cool cool :)

I've been realizing lately how much people rely on those who are strong in the faith. I'm not there yet, still working on it, but people have really opened up to us a lot this last transfer.  They're looking for a rock to build their house on and that is Jesus Christ's Atonement and Gospel!  Honestly it's fun to help and serve people, but that's what can stay with them always when situations change around them. God put us all here together for a reason!  We are His hands, here to do His work, and what a marvelous work it is!!!!

We were able to meet with Jaimie again this week and she said she usually is a quiet person who doesn't really socialize and who suffers from depression.  We would not have known if she hadn't said anything, because she always seems so kind and loving when we're there!  She said it makes her happy every time we come and she acts different around us than around others because of it.  That's the Spirit!!! Evidence it is true :D
We saw Lori again too who is super tired from work, but also got to sing about the wise and foolish man to her little 5 year old daughter Lily, which was fun. Lori said she is for sure going to church next week.  We're excited for her to be there :) 

Butch came to church on SUnday again and had his Black jeans and an ironed shirt.  He's doing so good :) Sherrei surprised us by bringing her son Devin's girlfriend Libby to church with her. Libby has never sat in on lessons or anything so we were pleasantly shocked.  She said we could come and teach her more and explain some of what happened at church :) so neat!!

We tracted like crazy this week and found a couple potential people and a sweet young 18 year old girl who is golden!!  She just graduated from high school and is looking for what she needs to do with her life during this transition of moving out and living on her own.  The Gospel can help!!!!!!  We were able to relate with our own experiences and of course talk about the Restoration and give her a Book of Mormon. which she said, "Can I have one of those books or where do I get one?".. you can have this one free! "I'm super excited to read it"   WHAT!? soooooo cool, the Lord is working hard in ways we cannot see. I'm so grateful for His help in all things.  I love feeling the spirit every day.  I love that He's the one in charge and can make up the difference even though we are weak. His strength makes us strong.  I love this Gospel and am excited to share it with the people in College Hilll (still not totally sure where that is haha by wichita I think) 

Miracles are happening in Kansas!

so scared running from a dinosaur, cool murals on a wall in south topeka, 

oh kansas

​panaderia that we love!!! fresh bread for 50 cents a loaf​? Mmmm, and tractors that drive all over Kansas. pretty sure our car could fit underneath they're HUGE!

Love you all so much!!!!
-- Love always and forever!
Sister Harston

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

We had 3 investigators at church!!!!!!!!  Melanie came with Sherrei as well as DJ.  And Butch came with his shined cowboy boots and all with Brother Self.  We were on cloud 9.  So wonderful to see them all there.  "How do you feel Butch?" "I feel pretty good, it's peaceful in here"  Yes!  DJ is moving to Joplin, Missouri to move in with his dad there.  We're so sad to see him go!  We have to send him with his teaching record to the missionaries there so they can get him in the font. haha He is so ready to be baptized, but he just has to completely live the word of wisdom.  He said he smoked his last pack and he's done! So the soonest he could be baptized is next Saturday.  

Mom the cookies turned out great!  Sister Hartung was so excited and asked, "can we have one right now?" Yes! haha so yummy :0)  That's good to hear that the missionaries there are having some success.  Good thing you knew the little boy! perfect opportunity :) Glad the package finally got there.  Hope everything wasn't too melted or squished.  It was super late, but full of lots of love :D An Area Seventy was at your General Conference, that's so cool!!! I'm always so in awe by how they know and understand so much.  Your topic is showing love and acceptance for everyone? Hmmmm....  I don't know that I could tell you anything you don't already know or haven't already thought of.  Pray for charity (unconditional love).  If you love them like the Savior loves us, you won't be able to help but share the gospel with them.  Be willing to share what you know, but also to listen to what they believe as well and willing to attend their church if you invite them to attend ours.  If they don't want it or can't go, no big deal, just say, "ok sounds good" and move on. Since the gospel is a part of you, the more you bring it up, the more normal it will be to come into the conversation.  Be natural, be yourself because that's who they love is you!  Inviting friends to come listen to you is a PERFECT opportunity :)  Just prep them of what to expect beforehand so they're not caught off guard because we're more different than we think we are. Like the sacrament, sustainings, members speaking, etc.  it's good stuff :) haha That testimony you've gained is a result of faith!!! You have such great faith it's leading you to do something about it, so awesome!!!!  Faith is something that so many people don't understand.  Belief won't last, faith that is exercised and strengthened everyday absolutely will :) Did the bus driver you gave the Book of Mormon to ever say anything about it?

Dad, it sounds like a rough start to the week, but yeah, Mom IS the greatest. You can't help but be happy around people you love :)  I understand the feeling of seeing them suffering and KNOWING the gospel would help them and not being able to.  It breaks your heart!!!  Oh what they could have if only they knew what it was. Glad you were in heaven hearing about missionary work! It's tough sometimes but ABSOLUTELY AND TOTALLY WORTH IT!!!!!!!!!  sometimes I think people get stuck because it's so easy.  Just read this book and pray to know if it's true ok?  Sometimes I wish I could let them borrow my testimony and conversion for a day to see what it feels like, but that just doesn't work. It'll mean so much more if they gain it on their own anyway.  

This week we talked to quite a few people :)  A young man named Jonah who we talked to a couple weeks ago, we went back to his house to follow-up and got to meet his mother Jennifer.  She was so sweet and if she wasn't so busy I'm sure she could be baptized in 2 weeks.  She is right there.  She took a Book of Mormon and we got the opportunity to answer several of her questions.  Good thing Jonah had told her about us before we showed up :) So much potential!!!  Business really gets in the way of the Spirit sometimes.  We must take time to be still.  

I honestly love feeling the spirit testify through me, but we have to be clean for Him to do so.  We got to go on exchanges so I went with Sisters Macovichuk (sister training leader) and Mitchell (new missionary) for a day and learn from them.  There is so much more to learn!  We also got to teach a lady named Jaimie this week.  She's been through a lot of physical trials in her life, but is totally open to listening as is her daughter Savanna.  When we find people like them that are so wonderful, you know that even if they don't accept it now, they WILL in the future.  

Saturday we went with Sister Dunn ( a sweet sweet less-active lady who lives with her husband up in Denison) to a baptism for 2 people, one of whom was an older man who was blind and lame.  What incredible faith!  it was a special experience to see two missionaries carry him to the font and the third stand behind and say the prayer.  What a wonderful thing :)  We were so excited for it to be fast Sundaybecause there are so many reasons we have to fast!  and the people we're teaching who are preparing to be baptized are just a few of them.  We have such wonderful members in the ward.  3 families offered to feed us Sunday evening.  We weren't sure that we could eat that much, so we just went to Sister Jacals :)  

I can honestly say with all my heart that I LOVE this work because it is the work of the Lord.  Being a parent, a good visiting teacher, home teacher, friend, daughter, aunt, etc. it's all part of His work.  What a great opportunity we have in this life to lift the hand that hangs down! Mosiah 4:21 "An now, if God who has created, you, on whom you are dependent for your lives and for all that ye have and are, doth great unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith, believing that ye shall receive, O then, how ye ought to impart of the substance that ye have one to another."  that is Physical and Spiritual substance :)  

Universal question, where are you people at in the scriptures? what are you learning? Where in Preach My Gospel are you?  What have you been able to apply?

I love love love all of you!!!

so this is sister Hartung enjoying one of your cookies with some peanut butter and hershey's chocolate and milk...Mmm! haha and yes, we decided to be twins one day.  Nailed it! :)

So did you know that Kansas gets really humid during the summer? New experience for me, we're having fun swimming through the air. haha  

No worries about last week.  The letter was wonderful and the cookies are delicious :) they also gave us a great excuse to see some people in the area and share the love :) Butch was one of them and was so happy. "Shoot you didn't have to do that"  He's so funny.  But Mom, I hope you're feeling better! That's great that the ward planned a Cottage Meeting but so sad that no one came :/ was it going to be a time for church tours? or a fireside?  That would be so cool for the new teacher to bring her kids. Then she would get to see them all the time!  I also have to agree that I have the best companion.  It makes a huge difference when we both want to work hard, to find, to talk to everyone, and to teach with the spirit.  We have too much fun sometimes :)

Dad I'm glad you're back safe from the fires.  You're such a goof. haha Oh and the package I mailed last Monday should be there tomorrow for Mother's Day (yeah sorry that was a while ago, BAD daughter!) and a little something for your birthday :) The other Sisters from our ward are talked about too right?! haha I love getting their weekly e-mails and reading up to see how wonderful they're doing and how strong they are.  They have so many more challenges to work through and I admire them so much!!  That seriously made me laugh so hard to picture you cracking up and the other firefighters looking at each other  wondering what was going on.  Mom texted during church what?! haha sounds like when I did that to her but she hadn't silenced her phone.  I still feel bad about that. haha But what a good opportunity to have a missionary experience and to notice it as one!  I'm learning that sometimes it takes many run-ins with the church before some people have their interest sparked. So one down!  haha they just don't understand what they're missing! I'm glad you're enjoying Preach my Gospel still.  

Grandma, thanks for your letter!!! It always makes me feel good to hear from you. And yes it was totally legible :)

This week was AMAZING!  Wednesday we went to one of the trailer parks to knock a couple doors and the first one we go to she let us in.  What?! We sat down and began to talk with her (Lori).  She's been losing faith in Jesus Christ because of the death of her brother who was her closest friend.  I cannot even imagine.  She does want to come closer to Him though, especially as we explained that only Christ can heal her heart and help her to find peace and solace.  She agreed to meet with us again on Saturday which was even better.  We shared the message of the Restoration with her and as the spirit there grew in strength she completely opened up to us and shared her burden.  Wow.  I'm amazed at the trust people give to us because of us showing a little love and concern.  Charity NEVER faileth.  She told us she had tried other churches and was looking for a feeling and never got it, so she had given up.  After Sister Hartung had shared the first vision, we asked her, "are you feeling this right now?"  She firmly and with tears in her eyes said, "yes."  "is that the feeling you've been looking for?" "yes"  We then got to invite her to be baptized and again she said. "Yes, absolutely, sign me up!"  WOW!!!!!!  What a special special experience. She is now preparing to be baptized on June 14th and wants her kids to learn more too :)

No effort in missionary work is Ever wasted. It's all in the Lord's time and according to the readiness of the people's hearts to receive it.  I continue to be reminded every day that His work is a marvelous work and a wonder, whereas if we did it ourselves it would be mediocre at best.  On Sunday, the Lisica family came to church. THe husband was baptized when he was younger and his wife isn't a member but because of recent trials (tumors in his brain) more people in the ward have been able to serve them.  We are excited to continue working with them to bring them closer to Christ than they have ever been.  ALSO the Blaser family, (less active) came to church for the first time in long long time!!! it was the greatest thing ever to see them sitting in the pews during Sacrament meeting :)

What a blessing it is to be a missionary here in Kansas. It truly is the best mission on earth.  I love the people here so much.  I absolutely LOVE doing the Lord's work!  Sister Hartung and I are striving everyday to be better than we were the day before and the Lord is blessing us for our minuscule efforts.  I know the Savior lives and that God is at the head of this church.  He is the same yesterday, today, and forever and He loves each of us dearly and equally.  He wants us to find His children because they need what we have.  They have no idea what they're missing and it's amazing to see them realize the blessings that are theirs if they will but have faith, repent, be baptized, receive the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end.  It is so true!!!!

I love you all and pray for you daily! blessings, blessings, blessings :)

​we're on bikes again! and this is the Groths. They are so awesome and have helped us so much.  He is the greatest ward mission leader :)
Thanks for chatting with me for a whole hour Mom and Dad!  that was wonderful to see you again :)  Since Sister Hartung and I are truly together 24/7 we talk A LOT. she knows me better than anyone I think. haha she said it was cool to see you and what you're like since I talk about you and tell her the things that are going on :) BUT I also can't believe I forgot to ask about a few things, Did Otter Creek hire a new teacher? Have you been finding good places to get more wood? When is school out? What else did you do for Mother's Day? 

Nichole, how are you going to give away ALL those kittens?!  I hope it's not too difficult, but I'm glad you get to have some fun with them in the meantime :) I CAN'T WAIT to hear how the 4 people who came to that concert think about it.  How cool!!!  "I Stand All Amazed" is a good one, did it make you cry? That's amazing that she is using her God given talents to spread the good news!  SO perfect :)  I pray for your family as well!  Also, thanks for the text that mom read to me while we were skyping, Love you!

Adam, how did your next test go? I'm praying for you!! I bet that will be so nice to be over and done with those.  It has got to be tough to balance financial and daddy work too.

Grandma, I believe you are a better missionary than I am.  haha so much patience!  I'm glad Jocelyn is enjoying that scripture study time so much with you.  THAT is wonderful :) I find it very impressive that you were able to navigate through the whole book of Isaiah. Did you learn a lot? 

Well some of this will be review for some of you but it's good stuff!!! We were able to meet with Shawn again and he said he'll be baptized with DJ on June 6th!  We're so excited for them. I really hope that they work together, but they're both pretty busy.  DJ is willing to squeeze in time with us here and there because we explained all the steps to go through before baptism.  Oh there's more! haha Brother Vanwagoner came with us to that appointment at the park and share his experience of being on the straight and narrow path and not.  The differences he saw and the things he said were so perfect for DJ, it was great.  Just another reason why we need members at appointments because I sure don't know what addiction is like! 

Butch is having some physical troubles.  His glasses broke and so he has been using an old pair which really doesn't work as well, so he hasn't been able to read in the book of Mormon.  He has an appointment soon to get them checked though which is good.  As we talked with him, he was still pretty positive about things :)  We told him to have patience with himself as he learns because it is a lot of new information.  He said. "I have all the patience in the world girls.  I don't think anyone has more patience."  Then he looked at a couple girls on his porch who were giggling and talking about girl stuff and he grumbled, "If they would just go away"guess patience is still a work in progress. hahahahaha

One more REALLY COOL story, we were out tracting and decided to go knock on a door.  As we started walking up to the house, a man came outside who we recognized.  His name was Frank and we had worked with him once at the Food pantry here in town.  He recognized us too, fortunately :)  He said he had wanted to talk to us at the pantry but didn't feel the situation was appropriate and wasn't sure he would see us again, but there we were!  It was a beautiful day outside and so we talked with him and his neighbor for a little while bore testimony, and gave them Books of Mormon.  Frank was very interested and said he felt God had put us in his path that day (WHOA!!!)  we scheduled an appointment with him for the very next day which went really well.  "Why do you think that God and Jesus Christ would appear to answer Joseph Smith's question rather than answering in another way?"  "Well he needed to hear it straight from the horse's mouth so it wouldn't be changed by men and it would be pure truth."  RIGHT! what a cool experience.  He said he will be baptized but we'll set an actual date for that this week.

Miracles are happening everywhere.  It's amazing to see the results of being led by the Spirit even when in the moment, you don't always realize it.  He is always there.  God is leading this work and it is hastening :) What an amazing blessing to be a part of it,and YOU ARE TOO!!! (Alma 58:39-40 And those sons of the people of Ammon, of whom I have so highly spoken, ...and the Lord has supported them, yea, and kept them from falling by the sword, insomuch that even one soul has not been slain. But behold, they have received many wounds; nevertheless they stand fast in that liberty wherewith God has made them free; and they are strict to remember the Lord their God from day to day; yea, they do observe to keep his statutes and his judgments, and his commandments continually; and their faith is strong in the prophecies concerning that which is to come." We can all follow their examples.  Something I'm still learning is that you need to pray with faith for the Lord to strengthen you, then GO AND DO ALL YOU CAN to make it happen, and it will :) I love you all and pray for you daily!!!  

1st we decided to have lunch at Rafter's Park, 2nd is the house I was in (the Myers home) when I was skyping family, 3rd obvious

These are the brick roads in Holton,  Just out looking for people to talk to :) (sorry the dates on the pictures are apparently totally wrong!)