Friday, November 30, 2012

We now know how to contact Amy in the Philippines! She would love a letter or a package any time!! There are several different ways to contact her.

First method:
2.  On the top right corner, click on Write a Missionary
3.  Click on Select a Mission
4.  Select Philippines Quezon City (NOT Quezon City North!  Note that the mail is free!!!)
5.  Click on Write a Letter
Just type your letter and they will send it free!!
Second method:
This address sends your letter or package to the mission home;  they will then get it to Amy.  Here it is:
Sister Amy Nichole Harston
Philippines Quezon City Mission
Aurora Blvd. cor. JP Rizal St
Project 4, Cubao
Quezon City 1109, Metro Manila, Philippines
Third method:
Church "Pouch" Service
The Church "Pouch" Service was established for letters going to and coming from missions that have experienced unreliable postal service.  It can by used by family and friends only to send letters to missionaries via the Salt Lake City "Pouch" address (see below).  "Pouch" letters should only consist of paper-like materials.  Color photos may be printed on the paper.  Here are the "Pouch" regulations":
-Single sheet letter on white paper (not lined), folded in thirds and taped only at the top.
-Do not enclose pictures, currency, cards, or stamps
-No envelopes
-Packages NOT allowed through "Pouch"
Here's the "Pouch" address:
Sister Amy Nichole Harston
Philippines Quezon City Mission
P.O. Box 30150
Salt Lake City, UT   84130-0150
Thank you everyone!!!
Amy arrived to the Philippines safely! We got a letter from her mission presidents wife telling us of her safe arrival. She's definitely in good hands! - Stephanie Hodges

Dear Family of Amy Harston,

This is just a quick note to inform you that your daughter, Sister Harston, arrived safely at the mission home of the Philippines Quezon City Mission. She arrived along with her batch about 1:30 P.M. on Thursday, Nov 22. She met her companion, had an orientation, ate a nice dinner, and left with her companion to go to their area. She seemed a little tired, but was well and happy.

One thing to be aware of is that 4 of the 6 weeks in a transfer, p-day will be on Monday. One week per transfer, p-day is moved to Tues. so the missionaries can attend the temple (which is in our mission) since the temple is closed on Mon. The week of transfers, p-day is moved to Weds. so the missionaries have the day before transfers to prepare if they're being transferred. We just want you to be aware of this so you won't worry when your weekly e-mail is a day or two later than usual.

There will be a letter sent from the mission office in the next few weeks that will have more details and pictures, but we do want you to know that she arrived safely. We are excited to serve along side your daughter and look forward to getting to know her better!

Sister DeLaMare (PQCM)
(Note: Amy and the other missionaries traveling with her had just traveled for over 24 hours! No wonder she was so tired!)
Amy's Final Email from the States on November 20th! SO exciting!

It's only a matter of hours!!!! :)  I'm leaving for the airport in less than an hour now!!!! So this will be a quick note. We're all packed up and ready to go.
I can't wait to talk to you my wonderful family!!! Mom, I will call when I get to L.A. tonight. Our flight is scheduled to end at 9:28pm, so I'll call shortly after that. I can't wait to hear your voices and tell you all about the MTC!!! :)  Our next flight isn't until 12:05am, so we can chat for a while if you'd like. :) I hope Ty and Steph and Richie can make it, too! If not, it will be fine, but I would LOVE to hear their voices, too!
Dad- I got your email. Because of the time differences that we'll have, I think the best time to call would be before my first flight actually, so around 5 or 5:30pm tonight!! for me and we can chat for a while, too if you can! That would be awesome!  I will call you on the number you gave me. Can't wait!!
This week has been a blurr. It's gone by sooo fast! We've had so many amazing experiences, and the Spirit has been sooo strong. It didn't really hit me that we're going until yesterday when we were saying goodbye to our teachers. They are soooo awesome!! Sister Lewis is just a big goofball, but she knows how to bring the Spirit into the room and keep the elders focused and in line. (They've been really restless these past few weeks). And Brother Roxas has the biggest heart imaginable. His love for all us missionaries is so clear to see. I have LOVED the MTC!
Although it's been weird packing up and saying goodbye, today I woke up feeling READY. We got to go to the temple one last time this morning, and we went through and endowment session. I'm not really nervous yet. I just feel ready. I worked hard in the MTC and did my best, so I can trust God to help me and strengthen me. "I the Lord am bound when ye do what I say, but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise." (D&C somewhere...)
Philippines HERE I COME!!!! :D I feel at peace and I know the Lord is with me.
I love this gospel!!! Read Alma 26. It is AMAZING. We read it together in class yesterday with Brother Roxas. I love it, and it gave me so much strength.
Talk to you soon!!
Sister Harston

(Note: I was able to talk to Amy that night while she was on her layover in LA. She sounded so ready to serve the Lord and bless the people in the Philippines. She's doing very well with the language and was able to communicate with our brother very well as they spoke in Tagalog. She sounded a little nervous, but mostly excited! She says she misses you all and says that she loves the letters that she has gotten so far! Thank you for supporting Sister Amy Harston!!  - Stephanie Hodges (Amy's sister))
Pictures of Amy and her group at the MTC! The second picture is of her in front of the Provo Utah Temple.

Amy's November 13th letter home!

Hello my wonderful family and friends!!

One week until I leave for the Philippines!!! How crazy is THAT??? We received our flight plans last Thursday! Wow. Time has really flown by. On that note, I have some questions to answer:


1. Yep, I'll be leaving on Nov. 20th. We meet at the travel office here at the MTC at 4:30pm and our flight is at 8:25pm at the SLC airport. I'm going to type my flight schedule for you so you have a better idea of my schedule:

Nov. 20   Leave SLC 8:25pm

Nov 20    Arrive LA 9:28pm


Nov 21   Leave LA 12:05am
Nov 22   Arrive Hong Kong 7:40am


Nov 22   Leave HK 9:05am
Nov 22   Arrive Manila! 11:15am

So there ya go! That's where I'll be! Crazy, huh?

2. Mom, As far as calling... I'll probably call during my first layover. They didn't give us a time limit for the phone call or the number of phone calls. So we can chat for a long time if we want! I'll call you as soon as I can get to a phone. I'll have a phone card, so minutes won't be a problem. :) You can send me a DearElder letter. that would be faster than snail mail. It is same-day delivery here at the MTC. Just go to and I'm not completely sure how it works from there, but Dad has sent me one before, so you could ask him if you can't figure it out.

Dad- Because of the time differences that we'll have, I think the best time to call would be during my second layover, so around 8am for me and we can chat for a while, too if you can! That would be awesome! Send me a dearElder if you want me to call a little later or whatnot.

3. Things to send me before I leave?

    - recipes? Mom, don't stress about this. Life is crazy. If you can't get them to me, don't worry about it. You could even send me an email and I can just print it out. I'll probably be able to print emails in the Philippines, too so don't stress too much about it. :)
    -I think I changed my mind about the tan "mini cami" thing. I think I would use that one, too.
    - a map of the US or of the world so I can show the Filipinos where I live. I think I can get it laminated here, so you probably don't need to worry about that. But if you have a sheet protector or something, that would be nice.
    - My ASL church signs book? It's the brown one. I would like to keep up on some of my church signs in case I get to teach Deaf people over there. I just thought of that this past week. I think it should either be in the bookcase in my closet or in the second drawer up in the tall dresser.
    -pics? I realized I don't have any pics of Tyler at all except for the one from your wedding! If I could a more current pic of him, maybe even one of a hiking trip from the last couple years or so or something.... And maybe a ballet pic of me? I didn't ever bring one and I think that'd be fun. But please don't worry about it if any of this isn't possible. Don't stress. These are just extra little things that I don't NEED. :)

4. Yes, I will send a package home before I leave the MTC. I am glad I will be inside vehicles and buildings for the trip because I won't have my jacket! But I will be fine. I'll be wearing my cardigan!

I think that answers all the questions.

Back to a short letter.
We have done a lot of studying this week and are continuing to learn huge amounts, though I'm realizing how much I still do NOT know. I am trusting in Heavenly Father to give me the strength. I am mostly just plain excited to go, but there is a little anticipation. I'm ready to move past the MTC though. I feel like I've developed some really great study habits, and I can't wait to get to the field to learn more from my trainer.

Not only did my companions and I work hard this past week, but we also made it a priority to have a little fun, too. It snowed this past week, so it's been beautiful. We decided to have fun with it. We couldn't have a snowball fight, because that's against the law here in Utah, but we made snow angels right after gym time one night (FREEZING! We went inside and took warm showers immediately afterwards.). We also made slushies with juice from the cafeteria and snow for the ice(actually turned out really yummy!), and made a tiny snowman. It was a lot of fun. It's gorgeous!! But it's super cold.

My companions and I happened to sit next to the Administrative Director of the MTC along with one other set of sisters heading to the Philippines. He talked to us about our investigators and gave us some pointers for how to teach them more effectively. It was super helpful and interesting. After lunch we left and applied what we learned to our teaching. I think that happened sometime last week. Sunday nights we have a fireside in a huge room with all the other missionaries. The Brother we had talked to was going to be the speaker. Before the meeting started, they announced over the microphone that they needed all the sisters going to the Philippines to come to the front. The brother picked us out and asked us to share what we had learned and how his information helped our teaching. Scary! So we are famous now here in the MTC. Haha. Everyone says hi to us like they know us and they all know where we're from. It was a fun experience.

Anyways, I'm out of time. I love you all lots! I pray for you every night, and I am so grateful for the prayers headed in my direction! I love this gospel so much and I am so excited to serve my Heavenly Father by doing His work! I know that the Book of Mormon is truly the word of God and when paired with the Bible, we can learn sooo much!!!


Sister Harston

This is Amy's November 6th, 2012 email! There's pictures this time!

Kamusta pamilya ko at mga kaibigan ko!! (How are my family and friends!!)

It has been yet another wonderful week. Pday started out with another trip to the temple. We are so blessed to be able to go every week here in the MTC! I love the spirit there. This past week I have learned a lot. I feel like my understanding of the language has increased a lot this week and my fluidity of forming sentences has increased, especially when talking about gospel related subjects. I definitely need to continue with SYL (Speak Your Language) and having normal conversations. But it has been really neat in lessons, because I understand so much more!! I still have SO much to learn, and I will continue working hard. One of my teachers told our district that we are doing really well and that we are learning and improving way faster than she ever did. She said we'll still have a ton to learn once we go to the Philippines, but we'll have the basic understanding of the language, and we'll definitely have a good head start. Only two weeks left!! We could be receiving our flight plans this week!!! I will definitely keep you posted. I will be able to call home from the airport when I leave, too, so I'll let you know more info. Dad, will you have any access to a phone? I think I can get special permission to call both parents from the airport. Let me know if you will be available for that. It'd be awesome.

This week I've been able to go to the meetings related for the zone leaders, district leaders, and coordinating sister. I've really enjoyed them. I have really enjoyed how much closer I have grown to the sisters in our zone. What a blessing this calling has been so far! I have been praying for opportunities to serve for the last few weeks, and I've been able to find opportunities, but now I have SO many opportunities
every day!! The sisters are so strong, and I think I often learn more from them than they do from me. It has really helped me realize that I need to stop focusing on myself, and just focus on others, whether they be the sisters, the elders, or especially my investigators!! Love it. :)

Sunday was amazing. It was fast Sunday, and I had meetings all morning, and I got a chance to "interview" each senior companion of the sisters in our zone, to see how everything was going and if I could help with anything. They are so amazing! I was able to have a really good talk with each of the senior companions. They have such pure hearts! After the interviews, I went to a couple meetings, and then had Missionary Conference. After some more study time, we had Sacrament Meeting. I love our sacrament meetings here. Our branch presidency doesn't speak or know Tagalog, so the announcements are in English, but the talks and prayers are all spoken in Tagalog by the missionaries. I haven't given a talk yet, but I bet I'll be called up next week or the week after. It's very likely. We have to have a talk prepared each Sunday just in case. :) This last Sunday was Fast and Testimony meeting, and our district made it a goal to have us all get up and bear our testimonies in Tagalog. We did it, too! The Spirit was soooo strong! As I bore my testimony, I actually started to cry. If you've ever heard me bear my testimony before, you would know that that is pretty normal, but I didn't think I would know Tagalog well enough to be able to speak smoothly and feel the Spirit that strong. I felt like I knew exactly how to say what I needed, and the words flowed. What a miracle. I love the power of the Spirit. Later that night, we had a fireside, where President and Sister Seamons spoke. President Seamons spoke about the power and blessing of wearing the "black nametag." We are literally representatives of Jesus Christ!! What an honor, what a blessing, what a responsibility! We are called as representatives of Jesus Christ to preach His gospel to all the world! Thank you, Grandma Harston, for your sweet note. It's true. There are times when I can get discouraged, but I can't let it show because I am a representative of Jesus Christ, and I have to be an example to the sisters! When I start to feel down, I say a silent prayer for strength, and look for my problem. Then I try to fix it. I feel so much better when I turn to the Lord for help. I love the black nametag! It gives me strength.

Mom--Don't worry about the extra load of the calling. It has really helped me grow a lot already. I know I can do anything when I trust in the Lord. He is helping me. Thank you for the letter, for keeping me updated on the every day things, and for the scripture each week. It really means a lot.

Jerry-- thank you for your emails each week, too. Thanks for keeping me posted on how everything is. You sound so busy!! Keep working hard and have fun, too. :)  Oh, and do you happen to know a Douglas Elsmore or a Yoriko Manabe from your mission? They are one of my companion's parents. They both served in Japan around the same time as you, but I'm not sure which mission or exactly when. It'd be fun if you knew them.

Christina--Thank you for your letters each week! Don't worry about not being able to write last week. I totally understand. You are a busy chick! Congrats on the grades, being famous, ;) singing, biathlon, etc. You are such an amazing young woman. Mom sent me a pic of you. You look gorgeous! :)

Dad- No worries about last week. You sound like you're loving on call! ;) Ugh. Sounds like no fun. But it sounds like you have some fun times ahead of you though.

Thank you so much everyone for all your love and support! I pray for you all every day. I love you all! I love my Savior Jesus Christ, and I love being His representative. I love being a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints!


Sister Harston

 p.s. I attached some pics. My companios and I after this morning's temple trip, and another one of our district on Sunday when we got to go on a temple walk for an hour. Good times. :)


Ok... So I'm really lame and haven't posted Amy's emails for the past month or so.  So here I go!
This one is her email from October 30th. Enjoy! - Stephanie Hodges

Kamusta pamilya at mga kaibigan!!! :) (Tyler, Amy's brother - who already served a mission in the Philippines, translated this for me.  It says: How are the family and friends?)
Thank you again for all the letters and prayers. It has been another amazing week here at the MTC. Wow, I only have about 3 weeks left here! How crazy is that??? I will probably be getting my flight plans in about a week! Ahhh!! I am so excited, but I don't feel ready yet! There is still so much to learn.

This week I have had a mix of emotions coursing through me. The older districts that were in before us just left yesterday, so it's been really weird seeing them packing and emptying their rooms. There were a bunch of sisters that left! I miss them all so much already! I am super excited for them, but at the same time I was sad to see them go. Some of them were crying, others were just plain excited, and others felt sick to their stomachs. But the overall feeling was that of excitement and anticipation. I'm sure they are all on planes right as I write this email!! So Mom, I think that answers your question about having any older districts here when I first came in. There were a bunch! I think the sister who had the biggest impact on me though was the coordinating sister, Sister Huddleston. The coordinating sister's calling was to love and serve the girls, and be aware of their needs. She went to various meetings with the Zone Leaders and branch presidency throughout the week and really made us feel loved. Every night before we all went to bed, she came in and chatted with us, sometimes very briefly, but we always counted on it. She helped us when we were struggling with things, gave us advice, and just loved us. She is AMAZING. I was really sad to see her go.

Me and my companions realized that with Sister Huddleston leaving, it meant that one of us would be called to be the new coordinating sister since we are the only "older district" now. They would call the new sister last Sunday. Saturday night, I said a prayer of thanks right before I went to bed, and asked Heavenly Father to strengthen whomever He chose to call. I knew it was a time consuming calling, and time is already a precious thing here because of the limited amount of it. I prayed for each of my companions, asking Him to strengthen them if they were called. I also told Him their strengths and why they would be amazing at the calling. But I also told Him I would be willing to do whatever He wanted if for some reason He chose me. I didn't think it likely, seeing my companions strengths and wonderful qualities, but I told Him I would dedicate my life to Him if He did call me. I felt at peace knowing that God does not make mistakes, and I didn't have to worry about anything. I slept soundly that night.

was an exciting, sad day since it was the older district's last sacrament meeting here at the MTC. After breakfast, our district was studying in our classroom, preparing for various lessons and talks and reading our scriptures. I love Sundays. :)  One of the branch president members came in and called one of the elders out, and then called me out when he was finished talking to the Elder. I thought it was probably just another interview like each of us missionaries often have each week, but I was wrong. I almost started crying when he told me they were calling me to be the new coordinating sister. I felt overwhelmed, humbled, and strengthened all at the same time. I knew what I had promised Heavenly Father the night before, and I wasn't going to let Him down. I accepted, and went to my first meetings that day. We were invited to love the missionaries that we were looking out for and to set the tone/example for the district. That night, as I went to my residence hall, I got to visit with each of the newer sisters. It was hard to jump out of my comfort zone at first, but as I did, I felt a huge love for them! These sisters are truly amazing daughters of God. Last night as I visited with them for a short time again, I felt an overwhelming love for them. I didn't know I could love this much!! Last night a couple of the sisters were struggling and I felt prompted to share a bit of advice with them and remind them of something that I had been taught. As I did, their fears seemed lessened, and I knew that the Spirit was teaching them and testifying. I am still overwhelmed a bit with the calling. It definitely takes time and sacrifices, but it is so worth it.

It always amazes me at how much Heavenly Father cares for each one of us and knows our needs. He definitely knows us better than we know ourselves, and will stretch us in ways we never thought possible. But we can do it with His help
because He is helping us!!! I love this gospel! I love my Savior, and I feel my His love more than I ever have. I love missionary work, and I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve my Heavenly Father!!

"When ye are in the service of your fellow beings, ye are only in the service of your God. -Mosiah 2:17

I know this is true!! I love you all!!!

Sister Harston