Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Amy's March 25th email home!!

Happy Easter from the Philippines!! 

It's amazing how quickly time flies out here. I think time must be faster here in the Philippines than it is over there in the US. It sure feels like it.

Before I forget--next week we have our temple day and the following week is transfers again, so I'll be writing a day later than usual those weeks as a heads up. 

Earlier, our zone had our zone activity! We went to a local chapel that had a court and played volleyball and ate some delicious food that we had all brought. We did it potluck style, with one or two companionships bringing rice while the rest of us brought different ulam. Sarap! We realized though that we forgot to bring plates and utensils, so we got creative. We used the lids of the different containers as plates and went Filipino style by eating with our hands! There is a specific art to eating with your hands-Tyler knows what I'm talking about. :) It was hot outside, but we had fun playing volleyball.

This past Saturday was the 171st Anniversary of the Relief Society Organization! Our ward had a special activity for all the relief society women in the ward, and had hilot (massage), and a couple of other small classes/workshops. Our relief society president asked if I could teach a class of basic sign language. It was a lot of fun!! Although the turnout was fairly small to the activity, they all seemed to enjoy themselves. I taught them the very basics and then taught them "Love One Another" in sign. 

We have been blessed to participate in a couple FHE's with a couple different families, and it's been a lot of fun. It's always the best when the whole family is there. We stuff as many people into the houses as we can. Fun stuff. :) It's a fantastic way to unite families. I would definitely encourage anyone to have FHE in their homes with their families each week, or at least as often as possible. But make it a priority! I have wonderful memories of when we would hold FHE in our home. They are memories I treasure, and I want that for these families. They are fun, sometimes silly, and spiritual. It is one way to help bond families together, and it's simple!

It sounds like you've had some wonderful times over there!! I'm glad to hear Mom and Jerry that you were able to take some time off work to have a little fun. You definitely deserve it. It's important to remember to take some time to slow down and to spend time with family, especially. Memories are being created! I am realizing more and more every day how very blessed I am with the family I have. I know we all have our problems, but I am sooo blessed!! Families are the key to Heavenly Father's gospel. It is the place where gospel principles are established, and where children learn to trust in Heavenly Father. When they are guided and raised in homes built on the gospel, they are much better prepared to face the world and to be on their own. We must teach our children to read and study the scriptures every day, pray every day, and to live the gospel to the best of their ability. They learn from our examples. As we go from house to house, we see all kinds of different rearing styles. When the children feel their parents and Heavenly Father's love for them and have the gospel in their lives, they are usually more well behaved. This gospel is amazing!

Mom, you mentioned how tracting would be difficult. Unfortunately we didn't have time to tract at all this past week, but hopefully we will be able to work with members and split to work in both areas. Then we'll be able to go tracting again. I actually have enjoyed the experiences that I've had so far. You said not to get discouraged if they reject us. I remember one of the wives of the MTC presidency spoke at a fireside. She was talking about always having a positive attitude and making the hard times into positive ones. One example she shared was about tracting. She said something like: "If you get a door slammed in your face, think, "Oh, what a nice little breeze!" and then move on!" I like that. President DeLaMare encouraged us this past week to look for the tender mercies in our life. I have noticed a lot of blessings in my life. I'd encourage everyone to do the same. :)

We are still working with Tatay Jun, and his baptism date is April 6! I love it whenever we go over there because he is soooo receptive. We went to his tiny humble home yesterday and planned to teach him about the 3 Kingdoms in the Plan of Salvation. After we had chatted a little bit, we asked him if he had read his reading assignment in the pamphlet about the 3 Kingdoms, and if he had any questions before we began our lesson. He said he had read the assignment and didn't have any questions but told us we could ask HIM questions!! Astig si Tatay! (Tatay is awesome!) He came super prepared and eager to have us test his knowledge. He had more questions as we taught, and we had a good discussion. He gets so excited when we teach him, and he's willing to do anything he needs to do in order to have the gospel in his life always. His faith is amazing, and he really understands the role of Christ's atonement in his life. I am learning so much from him and from his humility. 

Dad, thank you for the quote from Elder Nash's talk. I really like that-- "Live every moment on purpose." Thank you. And Mom, thank you for your quotes and scriptures. They are always what I need to hear. Your power of discernment is amazing! :) 

Christina, thank you for your billion smilie faces! Haha. They make me smile every time. If you didn't sign out with your name, I would definitely still know which email was yours. ;)  Love you silly goose. You sound like you had a bast this past week.

Brother and Sister Taylor, thank you for your sweet email. You are so right. I am finding out for myself that during the hardest times, I am learning the most--about myself, and about who my Heavenly Father wants me to be. 

Tyler--so you finally got a pic to Mom? ;P Ayos! Masaya talaga si Mom. haha, Sinabi niya na excited siya na nakatanggap ng picture mo. Paki salamat kay Jessica. ;) ...at sa iyo din I suppose. haha.  Gwapo ka ba?  [Tyler's translation:  

So you finally got a pic to Mom? ;) Great! Mom's really happy. She said she was excited that got your picture. Tell Jessica thanks ;)...and yourself too I suppose. Haha. Are you handsome? (In the context meaning "Did you look handsome?")]

I am super excited to share the Easter message to the people here in the Philippines this week. It should be interesting for trackting because it is Holy week. Most people here are Catholic, so basically everyone is celebrating it. I am so grateful for the knowledge that our Savior Jesus Christ died for us, and that he was resurrected!! He lives!! Because of His resurrection, we have the opportunity to be resurrected and become like our Heavenly Father! We can live for eternity with our families. Everything points to our Savior. He is the only way. He is the truth and the light. When the world seems so dark and lonely, we can focus on Christ. We will feel a literal change in our hearts and in our minds as a lighter feeling enters. Just as a candle's small flame chases the darkness from a room, when we focus on the Savior our path is lighted, and the darkness fades. He is the way. When we follow Him and His teachings, the gospel of Jesus Christ, we can do anything. We can withstand anything that comes our way. He is our rock and our foundation. I pray that we can all remember Him, especially at this time of year, and remember that HE LIVES!!! 

All my love, 
Sister Harston

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