Thursday, September 11, 2014

So yes, I am definitely in Brazil.  THe MTC is smaller here, but it's awesome because everyone speaks portuguese all the time.  Missionaries are here from the US, from Argentina, Chile, and other spanish speaking areas, and also Brazil, of course.  This week they let us leave for a couple hours and go out to proselyte next to this big cathedral theater place.  Seriously SO MANY PEOPLE!!!   In Kansas we talked with everyone we saw, but that is not possible in Brazil.  It was so crazy to compare because in one hour we handed out 4 book of mormons no problem.  Communication wasn't the smoothest, but the Lord helped and it was AMAZING!!! We only have 1 week left in the CTM (centro de treinamento missionario) The food is different but good. We always sit with the brazileiros and talk with them and ask what we're eating. haha we've had muscles, guava, papaya, rice and beans, and some other stuff that I don't know, i just eat. haha
I am SO glad the packages got to you mom!  Sister Seymour had to send them the day I left because all post offices were closed due to Labor day.  sheesh! haha We can't send pictures in the CTM here, but I'll try to send some when I get to Fortaleza.  most all the missionaries in my district served in other areas before getting their visas.  Also, I'm sorry but I have no idea what the address is here.  We'll be leavingtuesday next week.  That's a good suprise for that Elder, mom.  I know he will greatly appreciate it :)
Boa sorte com a escola!!!  Good luck with school Greg and KC!!!  I'll be praying for you, no worries. haha I feel like I'm in school again too. We have teachers that are our "investigators" whome we practice teaching, we pray in portuguese and sacrament meeting is in Portuguese too.   It's so awesome!!!  I can't help but think of Kansas sometimes, but part of my heart is still there.  
We went to the Sao Paulo temple today which was WONDERFUL!!!  Received much instruction there.  It felt really good and is the cleanest place here. haha  Sao Paulo is HUGE and the houses are interesting. Kind of thrown together and really tall apartment buildings, and all the shops are open to the outdoors.  Even our room windows don't have glass, just this metal shad thing with holes.  Kind of hard to describe. Our roommates sister Salgado and Sister Pereiro are both from Brazil and are so fun to talk to each evening.  Both are very sweet and very hard workers. 
We have less time here to e-mail, but I want you all to know that the Lord is here in Brazil and is hastening His work.  I know I need to be here.  There are people I need to help to open the door so the spirit can testify that the fullness is here!.  I'm excited to go out and work hard in the heat of Fortaleza (everyone makes sure I know that it will be very hot there and to wear sunscreen :)  I know the Savior lives and that WE NEED HIM EVERY HOUR, whether life is going well or not.  He loves us dearly and wants to help us as we are diligent, obedient, and are determined to serve Him with all our heart, might, mind, and strength.

Love always and forever
Sister Harston
so I get to send a special e-mail from Brazil.  I made it!  Flew from kansas to Georgia and met up with several missionaries there.  Some of them have been serving stateside for a while, and others are straight from home.  It was a long 9 hour overnight flight, and we were sad we couldn't really see anything because it was dark out
, but the mission picked us all up this morning, we got our money exchanged, and we're here now at the MTC! or i should say CTM.  It's pretty amazing here.  Everything is open to the fresh air outside which is really nice.  Also, everyone speaks Portuguese, even at the CTM so immersion starts now! It's awesome and my excitement is building.  I heard they'll even let us go out and talk with people tomorrow.  YAY!!!  Sister Anderson is here from my first MTC district and we're companions, fun!!!  Also a Sister Taylor is here and i knew her from my singles ward in Regency.  So many connections!  Anyways, just letting you all know I'm here safe and sound and ready to serve the Lord 
This week we had a couple visits from some people who are near and dear to my heart.  The Van Wagoner family came up from Holton area and we went to Jimmy Johns with Sister Hartung and her companions too.  It was so nice to catch up with them on life and provide support :) Obedience brings blessings!  Also got to see their newest little one, who wasn't born yet when I last saw them.  So cute :)  AND Pam Brunner from Emporia showed up to our ward's sacrament meeting on Sunday.  What a wonderful surprise!!!!  Got to give her a big old hug.  And if that wasn't enough she gave me a sweet card too.  Love her!!!

Sorry for the lack of time, but I got permission to e-mail today while all the others are e-mailing tomorrow since the libraries are closed, but I'll kind of be in the air without computer access :)  It's hard to say bye.  The Lord truly gave us a wonderful gift to be able to Love people.  His love has no end!! 

I haven't gotten your package Katrina!  So sorry!  I did get the Journal from you mom and dad.  Thank you I love it!  and yes, I'll be in the MTC in Sao Paulo for 2 weeks and then They'll fly me over to Fortaleza.  It's going to be fun!  Brother Day, who served his mission in Brazil, has been telling me a lot so I can mentally prepare :)  I'll need some pictures of the house changes to Mis pais! (parents) Heard you've been changing quite a lot.  Katrina, do you have good roommates?  I also really enjoyed those stories dad!  So amazing.  It warms my heart to hear the spirit working worldwide!!  Sounds like some good missionaries in your ward :)

I'm pretty much packed and ready to go!  Tomorrow we come to the church at 9:30am and President and Sister Bell will send me on my way. Whew!

Well, Katie Kitchen is on Date for baptism November 15th!  She and Brandon are both progressing.  THeir work keeps them from church sometimes, but its been wonderful to see the Gospel lift them and help them to find more joy and set goals together.  We met a mother and daughter named Kathy and Sierra.  Sister Seymour offered our service to help them carry in groceries and they accepted!  We got to teach them the Restoration and they came to the church building a couple days later for a tour and to watch a baptism.  So awesome!!!  

Sister Seymour knows everyone pretty well and her way around and I have full confidence that she will be able to help her new companion learn it quickly. 

I've been blessed to be a part of this great mission.  I've learned so much from the examples of other missionaries and the leaders here.  I know I needed to be in Kansas and that I now need to be in Brazil.  The Lord has a perfect plan and can shape us into something wonderful if we let Him take the reigns and do our best to know His will and to go and do it.  I love this work!  Miracles are happening in hearts everywhere :)

The Day family (ward mission leader)  BEFORE

AFTER (he's the one who taught me a lot about Brazil)

Steff and Hannah hecox,  I'm one of many sister missionaries who have worked with them :)

-- Love always and forever 
Sister Harston
So Griz did indeed get baptized!!! It was a wonderful and powerful spiritual experience.  There were around 60 people there who know and love him.  So much support!  Past missionaries who taught him were able to visit as well.  There were bear and temple cookies, the programs were ready, the jumpsuit fit, and after it happened, Elder Hughes asked Griz how he felt.  He didn't say anything at first, but then said, "In awe"  Lynda was in tears too pretty much the whole time.  What a happy day.  She has been praying for this for years and it finally happened :)  I've known Griz for 3 months now, and in that short time, I've been blessed to be a witness of the miracle of him coming to be baptized.  His heart was softened, his testimony grew, he's more loving, and I can't even describe it right.  It's just a miracle :) Also, Griz got the GSHS garb the day of his baptism.  We were there early to set up chairs and he walks in with his Grizzly hat on, the GSHS shirt, lanyard, and mug. haha he was so happy.  He also wants me to forewarn you mom, a present is headed your way and should get there tomorrow :)  He also shared a couple of the cookies you sent too. Thanks!  After he was confirmed on Sunday, Bishop Daley surprised him and called him up to bear his testimony.  How awesome is that! "That wasn't very nice of him, I didn't know what to say. I don't even remember what I said"  That means you were led by the spirit!! :)

Well, to answer your question mom, yes the packages came.  Sorry I didn't send them out last Monday, I will try to today.  I can't believe Madison is starting school.  That's ridiculous. haha  Sounds like a good group at OC! But as for the Georgetown ward, I don't even know what Cemotherapy is, but it sounds intense.  Sounds like a lot of people need a lot of service.  Hopefully the Blacksmith missionaries are in on that. haha so funny. 

Dad, yay for church invites!  I'm so excited to hear about her experience.  If she wants a church tour beforehand, I know the missionaries would be more than happy to! haha  I'm glad you were there to offer encouragement on Sunday.  You were definitely an answer to one of his silent prayers. We need each other, there's no doubt about it.  I'm so glad that guy called you!  What an amazing missionary experience :D

KC, Dave is MARRIED?!!! (yep didn't tell me)  oh my goodness gracious sakes alive!!!!  I saw the pictures and immediately clicked them and was shocked, not that I didn't think it would happen but it's just sudden to me with no background story.  I'm so happy for him!!! Can't wait to meet her. What temple were they sealed in? Sounds like a busy busy schedule for you coming up.  I'm going to throw in daily scripture study into the mix haha it's my job  :)  How's Spencer? As for Brazil preparations, not much to prepare except putting extra effort into language study and prayers for the gift of tongues. It's coming so fast! Can't wait to get a potato souvenir!  I still have to get one from Kansas actually. haha  Sounds like a really good goal to use facebook.  Even just through e-mail and bearing testimony, I've had people say "That really helped me out this week," And for sure that's the spirit! not me.

Michele is still progressing, but her baptism has to be delayed.  She's experiencing a lot of trials, physical and spiritual at this time.  She's so sweet, but needs a little more time to cope.  We'll be there to help her every step of the way.  It's hard to see her struggle, but I know the Lord is helping her and feels every thing she is going through.  We'll be over there tonight to help her work on her house. 

Beth Raya came to Griz's baptism! thanks to sister Green who brought her.  She thought it was cool, just different :) Afterward we were able to talk about the Priesthood with her and give a mini church tour. She has agreed to meet with us on her day once a week so we can keep in regular contact and help her to come to know the Book of Mormon is true, and Christ has restored His church to the earth for herself. So cool!

Miracle, we decided to tract Barlow street a couple days ago.  We had gone up the whole street and met some nice people, but who were uninterested.  As we were heading back to our car to go to dinner, we decided to knock one more door and we had 3 options.  After pondering we knocked the one in the middle.  A lady named Robin answered the door.  Her daughter had just had twins and lost one of them.  She said the same thing had happened a year ago too.  They're in a rough spot and couldn't talk right then, but said something like, "Please come back, we're doubting if there is even a God and we need you"  WOW!  We're excited to bring the gospel to them so they can find the deep peace and understanding, and feel the spirit and greater joy!  

Sorry I left my camera at the church building so I'll have to send pictures next week.

I know the Lord is laboring with us. He wants His children to understand His true nature, and He wants them all (US all) to return to live with Him.  "Is it not as necessary that the plan of redemption should be made known unto this people as well as unto their children?" (Alma 39:18)  We got to tell the world!  It's too good a gift to not share :)

I love and pray for you all!

-- Love always and forever
Sister Harston

Sister Seymour let me use her camera, so surprise!!! Griz's baptism :)

Griz Racobs had his baptismal interview on Sunday and he's good to go for his baptism tomorrow evening at 7pm!!!!!!!  Yes, Griz and Grizz. haha  Weird how similar and how different they are.  Both of their wives are named Linda and are members with health challenges.  But Griz Racobs is getting baptized and Grizz Favaron is not.  G. Favaron is still taking baby steps and is recognizing truth a bit at a time.  One day he will be baptized, I know it :)

That's a good idea Dad to give some of it away!  Can't believe I didn't think of that. haha Thanks! Also thank you for your prayers for those we are teaching.  I know "the prayers of the faithful shall be heard" (2 Nephi 26:15). I've been praying for that guy you gave a Book of Mormon to.  Any news about him? Also, way to be prepared! Prophets ARE inspired.  We definitely need them to help us stay on track and stay organized so we can know the will of the Lord and do it. And Dad, you and mom sure did it right :D There are so many broken families.  When Sister Seymour and I were teaching Michele this week, we were talking about the power of prayer.  I started tearing up as I related an experience of walking by yours and mom's bedroom as you were kneeling down to pray.  I heard you plea with the Father on each of our behalf for help with each of our individual struggles.  There's so much power in the prayer of a righteous mother and father united in purpose and looking to God.  So much power!

Mom, I'll send those to you just as soon as I get them, haha :) Grizz will be overjoyed to receive all those Grizzly items, you have no idea hahaha  Way to go to those 2 primary kids! sheesh. I didn't realize that those numbers were so small. How did sister Rachac know?! haha  Sorry the Summer flew by so quickly!  Before you know it it will be Thanksgiving break though right?! ;)  I hope Sister Sorenson does go back to church, that will help her heal because of the Sacrament!! The Atonement of Jesus Christ can work wonders :) It's crazy how us people know what we need to do, have received that answer from God and still don't do it, who knows why. A lot of times, I think we need to be invited to change by someone else or it doesn't happen. Lovingly bold, I think it would be ok to invite her to change by saying something like, "You know it'll make you happier and that you need to go, so go. We'd love to save a seat next to us for you :)"  You probably have already tried that, but agency can really slow people down sometimes. Sounds like an inspiring movie, that's awesome!  Torn is a good word for it.  The feelings are hard to explain.  I will fly to the MTC in Sao Paulo and have intensive language training for 2 weeks, then they'll fly me to my area in Fortaleza. Sister Anderson has been serving in Virginia :)  I think items-wise, I'm good to go for Brazil :)

This week has been AMAZING :)  We went over to see Beth Raya with Sister Green and we all talked about the Word of Wisdom.  She smokes and loves her tea, but committed to live it.  Sister Green was key in that lesson.  She was able to explain so well how the Lord will provide a way.  Beth also committed to come to  Griz's baptism tomorrow.  Sister Green is going to pick her up and then take her to get ice cream after, so fun!  Beth had been a little wary when we came because she was pretty tired, but after said, thanks I needed that.  We ALL need regular spiritual nourishment.  Why do we ever deprive ourselves of it?  We also met a lady named Tabatha.  She's a young mom who goes to the Methodist church with her husband, which is right up the street.  She's never been baptized before so she wholeheartedly accepted baptism and a date.  Unfortunately she wasn't able to come to church on Sunday because they were on a camping trip, but next Sunday for sure :) She just needs to understand more about how baptism isn't just a "thing to do" but it's a covenant with God and will change and bless the rest of her life! Good stuff :)  Michele is doing pretty well too.  She has stopped smoking and is on track to be baptized on the 30th.  We helped her clean out some boxes and drawer handles and hook up her DVD player so she could watch some church videos.  (She's now watched 3!)  Life is full of a lot of changes for her, so we'll be over there a lot to help her stay strong :)  Brandon and Katie Kitchen came to church again this Sunday, but had to leave early so he could get to work.  I really hope they felt the spirit, because it's always there.  However, our feeling his presence is up to our choosing to be in tune. 

This is the house we moved into.  We're so spoiled that it's just the 2 of us in it!  So much space

I know the Lord is with us every step of the way.  It's normal to be anxious and stressed at times, because we are human.  However, those feelings need not overwhelm us because they can be overcome through us using the enabling power of the Atonement, given to us at baptism.  Why not make it easier on ourselves and enlist the help of a Father in Heaven who is already willing to grant it, if we would but ask then go and do all we can to make it happen.  I know the Lord is our Savior and Redeemer.  He Atoned for each one of us, and that Atonement is eternal. It continues to work, and we invite all to use it!

-- Love always and forever!
Sister Harston

Lots of talk about Brazil lately and people asking, "Are you excited?"  To be honest, yes, and a little bit of no.  I LOVE Kansas!  I Love the people here, I love sister Seymour, I love the leaders... But I know that I will love everything about Brazil too. It almost seems unreal.  But "I'll go where you want me to go, Dear LORD....I'll be who you want me to be"  I'm now feeling pressure more than ever to find all I need to find while I'm here.  They e-mailed me my itinerary and it'll take from 9 am Sept 2 til 6am Sept 3 to get there. I also just found out that Sister Anderson (from my MTC district) will report to the Brazil MTC the same day as me.  Sweet reunion that will be!

I did get both your e-mails mom and a letter from Grandpa this week with all the details about Brazil.  haha  I think he's pretty excited. Glad you got your grand-kid fix! Ethan's climbing?! He couldn't even crawl yet, what happened?! hahah Hermana Mishler is definitely just getting more awesome by the day :)  Sounds like the new teacher is really solid and knows what she's doing!  I'm glad you'll have a little less stress in your life :) We truly have been blessed with the blessings of the fullness of the gospel from the get-go! Such a sweet family baptism, glad they're getting the ward's support!

And Dad, so many fires!!! I will be here for the rest of the transfer fortunately :)  I'm learning so much from Sister Seymour! Grateful for her patience with me her fumbly trainer. haha We're staying busy though, that's for sure!  Also, we are not moving in to the Robertson's house anymore, so we've been staying with the Sister Training Leaders. Hopefully today we'll get to move in to the woods' house.  They'll be gone for 6 months so we get to hold down the fort :) Craziness. Mail should be sent to the mission home, the 7011 E 13th St N, Wichita, KS 67206-1219 address :) 

This week, we've had to stop visiting a few people which is hard because we know the gospel will bless their lives so much! but we have to find those whom the Lord has prepared for now.  We've had some cool run-ins this week with people who have member friends, or who lived in Utah. One lady let us right in and there were a couple other moms there with their kids too. They weren't interested in learning more, but they like Mormons and feel their trustworthy good people. "You don't happen to like baby-sitting do you?" haha no time for that right now sorry!   So funny, but very sweet people. The Elders found a lady by the name of Michelle.  She has been so humbled by her circumstances.  Her husband (who passed away 5 years ago) was a members so she has attended church before.  She calls all of us her angels. she's so sweet, and she's preparing to be baptized on August 30th :)

Griz Racobs is still on track for the 19th to be baptized! He has good questions and can stump us for a second sometimes, but the Spirit guides.  We don't always have all the answers, but many of the answers he's seeking just need to be prayed over, and listened for :)  What a precious gift prayer is!

Shirlene is on date for September 20th and she is just awesome.  The Elders gave her a blessing this past week and after, Elder Hughes asked how she felt.  "I feel a little different" He then testified of the power of God, the cleansing power of the Holy Ghost, and how that feeling is available to all those worthy of it who have been baptized and confirmed by the proper priesthood authority.  So powerful!!!!!  She's really striving to live the Word of wisdom.  Unfortunately she didn't make it to church on Sunday, she's a little self conscious of her black eye from tripping and falling over the other day.  so sad, but it's healing well!

The Kitchen's are doing well too and working together :) It's so exciting to see when people feel the Spirit and have that desire to change, to come closer to Christ and be perfected in Him.  also some photos of the week!!

​This is the Favaron family, Joey, Linda, and Grizz.  He's not a member and is gruff on the outside but always super nice to us and just seeking for truth :)

Ready for church! Michelle and Griz came, YAY!

The Andover zone!!! Elders Cline, Gonzalez, Hughes, Ibarra, Farnsworth, Pututau, Daines, Kempter, um..., Sisters Seymour, Miller
Front row, Sisters Bradshaw, Mcquay, Barrera, Tomson, Guillen, Pack

I can testify that miracles are happening.  God works according to the faith of His children.  He lets us do so much, and then makes up the difference every time.  I know He is with us.  He's got  a hand in all we do.  We're always striving to improve and use the Atonement EVERY DAY and I encourage you to do the same.  Make some goals, make a plan, then do it and invite others to come unto Christ :)  I love the Lord and I love you all!

-- Love always and forever
Sister Harston

So Sunday morning, Sister Seymour, the Elders, and I got to go to ward council to discuss the needs of the members and who we can focus on and help the most right now.  This also meant that we were at the church at 8 am so we had a few hours after to sit and read scriptures until church started.  As we waited out in the foyer, President Bell walks up to me and says, "Sister Harston, I've been meaning to talk to you.  Your visa just cleared and you'll be leaving September 2"  What?!!!  "are you serious?"  I about started crying and cannot really describe how I felt right then.  Whew. So yes, it is true and I'll be in Brazil in a month.  Now more than ever, I'm feeling the urgency of truly following the Spirit and finding everyone I'm meant to find by being an instrument in the Lord's hands. 

Mom, I will start using my card again.  I didn't realize how long it has been since I've used it. haha Happy birthday to Grandma Davenport!!!!! Sounds like a fun get together :)  It also seems like it's very dry in California. You could use some of the rain we got this last week, one day in particular where it poured down for a few hours, so needless to say that cooled things down a bit. I'm so glad the new teacher is really great!  That's a major blessing. And what a sweet experience at church! New converts really have this fire of the Spirit inside them it's contagious. And the Lord truly requires and expects exact obedience. I'm glad someone spoke up.

I'm sad the music didn't work!  I guess I'm not technically savvy anymore....haha lost it! Glad that you got to work on the ambulance even though the strike team didn't work out.  Sounds like there's craziness going on in California.  Are all the fires in Southern california or across the whole state?  Preach My gospel is the Best!!!  I think it means you're wise dad :) When we go fast, we'll enjoy the top layer, but going slower we allow the spirit to teach us as well and to help it sink deep into our hearts.  I know you already know that, but most of what I say seems to just help myself realize these things again for myself :) I agree Mom is pretty special person though 

Katrina, that's the best that you'll be so close to Greg and Ashley and baby.  You're setting her up to be convinced that you're her favorite aunt, which I guess is ok. haha Sounds like Creekside cottages are pretty nice.  Watch out for that Netflix addiction!!! I could send you my schedule if you want, You could adapt it to your circumstances of course. hahaha  Is Little Caesars a pretty popular place for people in Idaho to stop in and eat? My address for the next month is 5818 Avalon St, Wichita, KS 67208 with the Robertsons, but you can also send it to the mission office at 7011 E 13th st N, wichita, KS 67206-1219 and it'll get to me too :)

This week has been wonderful,  Sister Hartung (the new STL here) and I went on exchanges which was a really fun reunion.  She' definitely been humbled by the leadership call.  We had lots to catch up on and I still have so much more to learn from her. Sister Seymour is doing fabulous by taking the lead with lessons and even talking to people on the street.  So awesome!  We've really been learning how to better work together and have fun in the process.  Love her so much for her patience with me!

We've been meeting a lot of people as usual, and I'm noticing how accurate the scriptures are!  They tell us how different people will respond to our message of the restoration of Christ's church to the earth and it's so true!!  We're seeking for those who will hearken to the promptings from the spirit.  I love the work hearken.  If they listen, that's great, but if they do something about it, then they're showing the Lord they're ready to receive more.  We found a man this week named Dean.  He believes there is a higher power, but not that he has any influence in our lives.  The elders went over to meet him with us, and we went through each of the 13 articles of faith.  He said he felt he gained a greater grasp of who God is. He agreed to a church tour and coming to church, but got cold feet at the last second.  I know the Lord works hard, but I also know the adversary likes to put in his 2 cents too.  We're still hopeful for Dean who seems to be very humbled by his circumstances.  The gospel can help!  

The Raya kids moved to Texas to live with their grandma this last Saturday.  Going to miss them so much!  We're hoping they'll will find the motivation and the missionaries there so they can go to church and the activities.  The girls went to mutual this week and LOVED it!  We'll continue meeting with Beth though. We're glad she's staying :)

Also, Brandon (a less-active member) and his wife (a non-member) Katie Kitchen are coming regularly to church!  She said she's already planning on being baptized and wants her husband to do it, so they'll be working and progressing together.  SO AWESOME!!!  I really admire their zeal to get back on track and start now to do make things right again and use the Atonement. :)

Well, I love the Lord, I love this work.  There's no place I'd rather be :)  Until next week!

Beth Raya, Tiyana, and Vivica.  The Youngest Alexus was out with her aunt, but they're the best!  Going to miss the girls so much.  They'll be in Texas for the school year with their grandma.

​After biking for 40 min to an appointment, we decided to cool down for a second.  Thanks to the ice cream man for driving by at the right time!

-- Love always and forever
Sister Harston