Saturday, February 9, 2013

Amy's January 1st email home! 

Maligayon Bagong Taon po!! (Happy New Year!!)

I am sorry for the confusion of letter writing this week. It is transfers, and guess what????? I am being TRANSFERRED!!!! I've only been here in Morong for 6 weeks and it feels like I just got here. Sister Cope is staying here and will be training again! Tomorrow is transfer meeting, and that's where I'll find out who my new companion will be and where I'll be assigned. So I get to pack my bags tonight, get on a jeepney at 5am with my luggage and the rest of our zone, and head down to the Aurora chapel near the mission office. We will have mail run at 7am, so I might get the package then! I'll let you know if it comes. :) I get to perform for the transfer meeting, too. The original plan was to have me play "Oh Lord, My Redeemer" on the piano while two other elders from my zone would sing, but then we decided to have me and one of the elders sing it while the other played the piano. But yesterday I woke up with no voice, and today it's been pretty scratchy. So we may have to go back to plan A with me playing the piano if it's not back by tomorrow. It will be fun either way. The elders have gorgeous voices!

Last weekend, I had a pretty neat experience. I wrote about it in my journal, and I wanted to share a section of it with you.

"I had a beautiful experience this morning. Last night, the sisters brought up the idea of doing exchanges within our companionships for today. I was honestly scared to death. The original idea was for me to stay in my area and Sister Repollo would be my companion for the day. Sister Biggs would lead the other area with Sister Cope as her companion. I felt so inadequate for the responsibility. I don't feel like I know the area well enough or the people, or even the language well enough to lead in the teaching.... This morning, we approached the idea again, but we decided to make it a matter of prayer. We wanted to ask Heavenly Father if we should have exchanges, with whom, and when we should do them. We knelt down and prayed together in one of our bedrooms, asking for guidance. We then said our own individual prayers. The Spirit was so strong, and what we were doing just felt so right. I was totally overwhelmed and fought the tears, but they came anyway. I wanted to receive an answer so badly. I don't think I had enough faith though, because I  didn't know or have an answer when I got off my knees. We discussed our feelings, and they weren't all the same, so we prayed again, pleading for clarity of thought and guidance to what we should do. But before we prayed the second time together, I went to my scriptures briefly and pulled out my patriarchal blessing. My eyes went to a phrase that had a beautiful promise to me. I was in need of revelation, and I knew that I could receive it.  So I asked Heavenly Father to help me and to help me listen more carefully. When we prayed as a kabahay (all the sisters in our house, or bahay) for the second time, the Spirit was super strong again, and Sister Cope asked Heavenly Father to guide our thoughts  and let us know when, where, and who. We then prayed individually again. This time, I prayed very specifically, expecting to receive and answer because I knew I could with the help of the Holy Ghost's guidance.  When I finished, I pondered some and then said another prayer. I had a strong feeling that I needed to stay in my area today with my companion. As we all discussed for the second time, it was amazing and wonderful to see that we had all received the same answer that today was not the day. But we all felt that exchanges were important and that they needed to happen soon. Sister Biggs is leaving next week, but we feel like it needs to happen before that. We'll continue to pray about it, and we may go out on Monday with exchanges if not sooner.

After we had come to our conclusion, we again went to the Lord to confirm our decision. I said it this time, asking God to confirm our decision to each one of us and to help us always remain worthy of His trust. I had a hard time getting through it because I was crying so much, but the Spirit was super strong still. We then said our own prayers again. Everything just felt so RIGHT. We didn't have an answer, so we turned to the Lord in prayer, When we still didn't know, we returned and pleaded again, first as a kabahay and then individually. We have been commanded to turn to the Lord in all our doings and pray always....

It was such a good reminder to me of who we really are, and how much God really does love and look out for His children.  I was so overwhelmed with the power of prayer and its role in our lives. We really can and should expect answers, because we are entitled to them when we live worthy of the Spirit.

There are always ups and downs in the weeks, and that was definitely a good booster to the week. To top off the weekend, we also had a baptism on Saturday!  Laarni was baptized along with two 8 year olds in the branch and a young man that the other Sisters were teaching. It was beautiful!!! I'll have to send pictures next week. I forgot my card, so I have no pictures with me. I have lots to send. :)

We ended up doing exchanges on Monday, New Year's Eve. It was perfect. Sister Cope and Sister Repollo both went to the transfer meeting that morning while Sister Biggs and I stayed home and studied together. We had a lunch appointment, then went out to work. We had a short day and had an early curfew because of New Year's Eve. People get crazy around here with fireworks and all kinds of explosives. If it makes a loud noise, they use it. If it explodes, they use that, too. Because it gets dark early, we had an early curfew of 6 pm. We came home and studied a bit, planned, and then watched The Testaments. Our neighbor, Vicki, was SUPER generous and made us a FEAST. She gave us a huge tray stuffed with food and another couple plates of food. We had also had a dinner appointment right before that, so we were STUFFED. We're not going to have to cook very much this next week. Or at least the sisters that will be in our apartment won't. :) I'll be somewhere else by that point.

Oh, Mom and Jerry--Happy Late Anniversary!! It sounds like you had a great time. I'm glad you found some time to get away. Family relationships are sooo important. I have to say thank you for making family scripture study and family prayer a priority in our home. I know that it is sooo important, and really brought us all closer. I actually shared that experience with a couple families this past week. I wish I could help them see the importance and effect of it with families. Keeping the gospel central in families is essential. That's how families become strong. Even though we all have different situations, the gospel is what can bring us together and heal broken hearts.

I love you all and pray for you every day. Thank you for all your great examples. Sorry for writing you a book. Make sure you make New Year's Resolutions if you haven't already! What a great way to start off a year!

Sister Harston

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