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