Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Amy's March 10th email home! Plus Pictures!

Magandang gabi sa inyo! (hapon lang sa akin dito sa Philippines).
Translation: Good night to you! (afternoon for me here in the Philippines).

We are still covering two areas even though we are a threesome, so our area is very large. Next transfer we will probably get a forth companion and be back to the normal two-sets of companions, one companionship per area. We do our best to balance the areas and the people, but it's sometimes difficult to get everywhere we need to. We're having to prioritize, and we split when members are available to work with us. It's kind of scary to lead the discussions, but I know I can do it when I put my full trust in Heavenly Father. I still feel so stinkin' weak, but Heavenly Father is teaching me and helping me grow. I am learning so much from both of my companions every day. I often feel like I'm still in training, not the trainer! I am grateful for the scriptures, for the spirit, and for the power of prayer. I am so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ and for this opportunity to serve Him by serving our brothers and sisters here in the Philippines.

Dad, you sound like you had a crazy, tiring, but fun week with the training! Go-cart racing, eh? Sounds like a blast. Sometimes the driving here in the Philippines reminds me of go-cart racing because it's so aggressive and crazy. The traffic rules here are merely suggestions. The lines are merely suggestions. If you're bigger, you win. If you want to make a left turn, you do, even if you drive on the wrong side of the road for a while first to get there faster. Now I know where Tyler got his crazy driving skills from. ;) Joke-lang. But the driving here is pretty different. I remember being in shock the first few days with the driving, but it just seems normal now.

Mom, yes, we do walk a lot here, but we also eat a lot here. The people are so generous and are ALWAYS feeding us. We can't say no, because that would be considered rude. If they are expecting us for a teaching appointment, they'll often prepare a full meal. If we stop by another time, they buy merienda, or snacks and soft drinks. I have never had so many soft drinks in my life. Haha. Even though we walk a lot, I actually have gained weight here. Not a ton, but enough that people don't always comment on how I'm "too skinny" now. I'm "normal" now. Everyone has such a big heart. Sharing is completely normal here. There is no "mine" and "yours," but "ours." It took a bit of getting used to at first, but now I love it. Even in our companionship. If someone has a snack, we offer some to our companions. It is a small thing, but it has really unified us.

Mom, you also asked about the money and how that works. We have a support visa card. We pull out our support once every 16 days. We pull out P4000 and it's plenty for the month. We have limited expenses- water and electric bills, food, travel. That just about covers it. We eat out only once or twice a week, and travel is fairly cheap. We take jeepneys if it's really far, but otherwise we just walk.

Jerry, you asked about how training is going. Sister Abonitalla and I switch off every other day with the training. Sister Paloma is so awesome! I often feel like I'm the trainee. She's teaching me so much!

We have our Zone Conference this Wednesday at the mission home, so I'll have to let you know how that goes. :)

I've been blessed to be able to play the piano for several different occasions. It is really stretching me to sight read and I have blotched a few times. I was asked to play for our last transfer meeting, and I've played at a baptism, a wedding, and now in sacrament once. I've also played a couple times when we have a meeting at the mission home or whatnot. Thank you mom for teaching me piano! I often make mistakes, but I'm glad for the knowledge that I have and hope to continue to have opportunities to use it. Another sister and I have talked about singing a duet for the next transfer meeting too, so that should be fun. She has a gorgeous soprano voice, and can sing alto, too. :)

One of our investigators, Tatay Jun is so awesome. I'm pretty sure I have written about him in previous emails. He's in his 70s and is soooo ready for the gospel. He has lots of questions, and when we teach him about different doctrines or principles that he didn't know about before, he applies it right then and there to his life. We taught him about the Word of Wisdom and he said that he drinks coffee and tea sometimes. But right then and there he said he would stop drinking those drinks because "if that's what God commands, I'll do it." He is so strong and has SUCH a strong desire to do what's right to the best of his ability. We are told to become as little children, submissive in all things...Tatay Jun is exactly like that. He is so humble. He is applying the gospel of Jesus Christ to his life and is changing. He is so happy and gets excited when we teach him. The spirit is always super strong. His baptism is going to be on April 6th!
When we teach Tatay Jun, his two granddaughters often join. The oldest is 9 years old and she often brings her friend who is also 9 years old. They are super sweet girls, and we have a sweet bond. Yesterday at church Tatay Jun came again! And the two girls came, too!! Tatay Jun's life is blessing the lives of others.

I love this gospel. I am so grateful for this opportunity to share it with others and bring families together. Families are forever. It's not just "till death do us part." There is more after this life. When we apply the principles of the gospel in our families, we become stronger and happier. Heavenly Father wants us to be happy in this life, and in the life to come, and the way to do that is to be with our families. I am so grateful for my wonderful family. Thank you for your examples of strength and faithfulness. I love you all!

All my love,
Sister Harston

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