Saturday, February 9, 2013

Amy's January 7th letter! 

Hi everyone!
Sounds like my girl has been given a challenge.  She's been there in the Philippines only 6 weeks, has been transferred to an area that has not been thriving and placed with three Filipino sisters.  Her language skills are going to improve rapidly!  I suspect the Lord knew that this area needed my sweet, positive-attitude girl to get it going!  Please send extra prayers for my Amy!
Amy finally received our Christmas package!!  In it, I included two stockings stuffed with daily gifts to open for the 12 days before Christmas, plus Christmas day gifts.  Each gift included a scripture.  I decided to send two stockings because my son, who served in the Philippines, told me that the Filipino missionaries are not well supported and don't get very much, if anything at Christmas.  When I learned that Amy's companion was from the United States, I thought "Oh well, her companion will just get a lot of gifts!"  Well, the package didn't arrive on time and now Amy has the package to share with her new companion - a Filipino!  Perfect!  Though I wish Amy had received our package for Christmas, it's interesting how it all works out!
Happy New Year!  Take care!
Wendy Toms (Amy's proud mom!)

Hello my wonderful family!
So I am now in a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT area from my last area. My last area was province, where I was spoiled with rice fields, beautiful sunsets, and many investigators/recent converts. Everyone was sooo friendly. Here is quite the contrast. I have been assigned to the Quezon City South Zone, so I'm smack-dab in the city. People here are very business-minded, and often "too busy" for the missionaries to stop by. We have a ward though! Instead of a branch, we have a ward! That was exciting. Our area is HUGE, and we walk a LOT. But we are also fed a LOT by members. I've been told several times that I will gain weight here, so we'll see. I'll keep exercising and hope for the best!  :)
I am the only American in our apartment this time, which is definitely a change, but I think it's what I need. There are three Filipinos and me. One of the sisters, Sister Sanchez, will be finished with her mission and is leaving in about 2 weeks. She is VERY "trunky" for home, and that's all she talks about sometimes. It's understandable I guess, but it's kind of frustrating, too. This transfer is my companion's last transfer, too. Sister Acenas! She's awesome and crazy. We are sooo different, but I think it's bringing out the best in us. We're still finding our balance. Because it is her last transfer, she has started thinking about home and being trunky, but I am determined that that will not happen. She wants to finish strong, and that's what we're going to do. I am determined to make this transfer a good one, full of hope and faith.
All the missionaries in my zone always say, "This is SUCH a hard area!" or "the work is dead! It's sooo hard!" and things like that. I don't like that attitude. Yes, it's pretty challenging, but we are not going to improve with an attitude like that. We need to have faith and hope. We have been assigned here in this zone for a reason. We each have an important part here, even if we don't see it right away. It is tempting to get discouraged, but I am determined this transfer to do my best and spread the joy of the gospel. I have faith that we will find more people to teach, even if it's just a few more. There are people here that are ready to hear the gospel.
We are so blessed in this area though. We have a wide range of living styles that we teach to. It is humbling to teach to the people in what we call the "squatters." Their living conditions are TERRIBLE! It's shocking that people live like that, but they do, and make the best of it. We also teach to a pretty wealthy area, with big houses, and they even have cars! That was extremely rare in my last area.
I am learning so much and I have felt twinges of discouragement, but then I remember 1 Nephi 3:7 and Ether 12:27. They give me great strength and comfort.
I love you all! I pray for you every night.
Sister Harston
p.s. I finally got your package! Sister Acenas and I have been going through the scriptures and goodies. Thank you! So creative! We're having a delayed Christmas. :)

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