Saturday, October 30, 2010

Letters to Mom and Dad

The first paragraph is from a letter to Jeff, Elder Harris’ Dad, in answer to some questions he asked about his schedule.

A typical day is like this: I wake up 6:00, shower, brush teeth, get dressed, and pray.  Ii lead district meeting and try to start the day with the spirit.  I then eat breakfast.  I then go to class for about 4 hours.  I then eat lunch, then I have personal companion and personal language study.  I then have district role play and study that is for 4 hours.  I then eat dinner, then I go back to class for about 3 more hours.  I end the day with a district planning session.  I pray again and then I go to bed and do the whole thing again.  I love it, tell you more later.

This section is from a letter to Rosean, Elder Harris’ Mother, in answer to some of her questions.  She mentioned to Jaren how his sister was asking someone to MORP (A girl asks boy event at school).

That is so cool for Haleigh and I am very excited for her. I think that Dylan is a super cool guy and I think that she is going to have a ton of fun.

As far as my itinerary, we leave at 5:00 in the morning the 3rd we then fly to Atlanta Georgia we land at about 1:00 we have a three hour layover and then we fly straight to Peru. We are expected to get there at about 10:55 in the evening. I am so excited to have the opportunity to go to Peru.  I love the fact that I get to teach to a people that as Dad put it" are living where the book of Mormon is taking place".

On Tuesday of this week we got to hear from another member of the quorum of the twelve. Richard G. Scott came and talked to us about the sacred call of a missionary just like that conference talk that I love so much. It was by far the best talk that I have ever heard. The power of the spirit was so overwhelming that it brought me to tears like three times. The first time was when Elder Scott used his apostolic keys to give all the foreign speaking elders the gift of tongues. I laughed to myself cause I had been needed a spiritual push because learning Spanish is not very easy. I love that I have a lot of experience, but we never learned any spiritual words or how to speak to people in a the formal sense all the time. Some times I get really frustrated by it. I am comforted in the fact that I now have the gift of tongues.

I also had the opportunity to go to the temple today, and I cannot express the love in words that I feel in the temple. I came in with a question and I received an answer.   It really gives me a strong desire to go and spread the truthfulness of this wonderful gospel to the entire world.

I am starting to realize that in order for me to become a extremely successful missionary I need to give more of myself. What is the point of being on a mission of all you are really here for is for your own personal growth. The most growth is had when you care more about others then you do yourself. I know that many times I have thought to myself that I can do that no problem, but I have found that I am an extremely selfish person. However there is a silver lining in every cloud, I have changed so much in the last 2 weeks that I think that if I came home now you wouldn’t think that I am the same person. I then start to look towards the future and I realized that the Lord is preparing me for something special. I can feel it in my soul. I really need to give everything that I have to this mission because I am being prepared for some greater cause. All I can do now is put my faith in the Lord and know that he will not give me a commandment that he doesn’t already know I can accomplish.

The MTC is such a fun place to be, I play basketball every day during our gym time and I am already half way through reading the Book of Mormon. I know, crazy right? I love the Book of Mormon so much, I missed one day this week reading it, and I felt like I had lost the most valuable part of day. To say the least I won’t make that mistake again. I find that when I read the words a great feeling of peace comes over me and I know in my heart that the things that I am reading are true. It really makes me what to continue to share the message of the restoration with the world. I want you guys to read 2 Nephi, chapter 11, as a family and really gain a deeper understanding of the power of the atonement and the love that Christ gives to us so freely. I love the power that that chapter evokes in me. It, along with other things, has greatly excited me, for my future in the gospel

I hope that everyone in the family is doing well and I hope that you get all the letters that I have been sending you. I plan on in my next letter that I will send tomorrow will have pictures in it and something else that is a surprise. I hope you like them.  I got one for the whole family because they were so cheap.

I do miss you guys and I love you so much for all the letter and food. It brightens my day when I see that I have mail from a family that misses me as much as I miss them. Of course know without a shadow of a doubt that I am in the right place and that I know the Lord is protecting me and blessing me. I pray for you daily, at first in English but now in Spanish.  



NOTE:  We received a phone call from Jaren this morning which was a little shocking to us at first.  The MTC told him to call us. He told us that his Visa had not come.  He was called in yesterday.  Somehow, somewhere the paperwork was lost.  His wasn’t the only paperwork lost.  There is a dozen or more missionaries also.  So they are going to resubmit his paperwork for a visa.  Jaren had an amazing humble attitude.  During our five minute conversation with him he said, “It is okay, the Lord has a reason why I am to stay here for now.”  He went on to say.  He stays at the MTC in Provo waiting for his visa.  If in the typical nine week training his visa does not come in, they will give him an extra two weeks.  If by some strange reason it still doesn’t arrive they will assign him another mission to serve.  Again he said, “It’s okay, if that happens, it just means the Lord knows of someone who I am supposed to teach somewhere else.” Anyone who is reading Jaren blog..Will you please take a moment to pray for him, for support.  Pray for those who work in administration of American-Peru visas, ask for them to be able to straighten this mess out so these young elder will be rewarded for their faith.  Thank you to all family and friends who have continued to write to him!!  He especially needs to feel your love now.     Thank you, Rosean

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

2nd Snail Mail Letter/October 27, 2010: Here is an excerpt

..The MTC is truly a place of love and work.  I have found in these last few days that the Lord has a great design set out for his children in Peru and that I am essential to that plan.  As I follow the rules and continue to practice Spanish, I can feel myself changing.  The prophet Joseph Smith said, “When we find ourselves low, we are being prepared by the Lord to be raised up.”  That is not an exact quote, but the meaning holds the same.  My testimony has taken Great, Great Leaps forward since I have been here.  I thought I was excited before, but it compares to nothing that I feel now.  I have found myself questioning the Lord’s will in the past but I have now come to a greater knowledge.  The Lord knows us so personally, He knows our weaknesses, and strengths.  I know that while I am away the Lord will bless the family in more ways then we will know.
 Thank you so much for all the letters, and packages.  It makes my day every time I have some news. 
Yesterday I received my travel itinerary.  I leave for Peru on November 3rd.  The time that I have spent here seems so short but I have learned so much.  I have been taking pictures but the photo machine has been broken in the MTC bookstore.  I promise to send some soon.
Most of the missionaries in my district are going to Villa Hermosa Mexico Mission.  We also have two going to the Bolivia Santa Cruz Mission.  Those two leave with Elder Johnson (Jaren’s companion) and I and will be in the Peru MTC with us.  Our personal goals are to all speak Spanish as often as we can.  So no, we don’t speak it all the time but I can already start to feel my mind changing into Spanish mode.  Church on Sundays are all in Spanish.  That means everything including sacrament prayers, hymns, prayers, talks, pretty much everything.
Please tell Grandma (M.) that I love her to death.  The letters that she sends, I love reading them and peeling off the quarters.
I pray for our family every day.  I thank the Lord for providing such loving parents, and three fantastic sisters.
I went to the temple last Thursday and will go again this Thursday.  I know we sing it but it is true, the Temple is a house of God, a place of love and beauty..
                                                                                        Elder Harris

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Elder Harris' letter #2

Hola familia,

I just want to start by saying that I really miss all of you and I love you all so much.
The MTC is such a great place; I can feel the spirit everywhere that I am, even the lunch room!!! Learning Spanish is actually really hard but I know that the lord does give us any challenges that he doesn’t already know we can handle. Aubrei, Haleigh, Saydi, Mom, Dad, Grandma Harris, Grandma Murphy, Sister Hatch, and Aunt molly Thank You so much for all the letters and packages it really means so much to me.

Let me start with talking about the food here. The food is not bad actually. I think that it is a step up from being at school, but they pump the food full of vitamins so... you do the math. I have PowerAde with every meal and I eat cereal every morning. Best part of the MTC is that the milk is a limitless supply!!!!!

My companions name is Elder Johnson and he is from Connecticut. We are like polar opposites. He is reserved laid back and quiet, on the opposite end I am really loud and outgoing and I like to talk to everyone that I meet.

Yesterday was our first TRC which means that it was the first time that we got to teach the first discussion. TRC stands for Teaching Resource Center. The first thing that we get to do while we are there is to greet someone in Spanish, we talk to them, ask them how they are doing and teach a little in Spanish about the gospel. Then we ask if we can “come back another day" and teach them more in our native language. He then leaves and comes back about 5 min later and we teach them the first discussion. Elder Johnson and I were so pumped to get in there and start to teach.  We then found out the person that we would be teaching was a twelve year old girl. We pretty much threw out our entire lesson plan because everything that we were going to teach was way too hard for a little girl to understand. We went into the lesson relying totally on faith, and let me tell you the Spirit came through for us. We explained the doctrine in the most simple ways that we could think of and if there were any big words at all, we explained what they meant. Like for example, dispensation, prophet, and ministry. It is an amazing how well the spirit uses you as a tool when you really have no idea what you are going to say.

On Tuesday of this week we had Russell M. Nelson come to speak to the missionaries and it was the best talk that I have ever heard. He basically spoke right to me, telling how to be the very best missionary that I could possibly be. He told us that we as missionaries should be like Lions in the wild that we should be alert and “hunt down our prey". It truly inspired me to really seek after my investigators, and to strive to let the spirit guide me when I am in the field. I learned that the armor of god is not always armor but the very things that I wear every day, like the white hand book is my shield and scripture is my sword. My suit is my breastplate and so on. I loved the talk, that I wrote about 3 full pages of notes on it.

Just a quick word about Spanish, I know that I would always tell how much I hated speaking the language when I was in high school. Well that whole thought process is already way out the door. I can seriously bear my testimony better in Spanish then I can in English, because I only know how to say the most basic things.  It makes my testimony that much more powerful because I can only say exactly what I know. For example I know Christ lives, I know he loves you, I know Joseph Smith was a true prophet.  Also another really funny thing is that I have never been really good at spelling and I can already spell better in Spanish then I can in English. I cannot wait until I am so good at Spanish that I can write a full letter to you without any mistakes. Side note, super cool, I have to write a talk in Spanish for this Sunday on how charity and love should be full.

I love you and will continue to write.  - Jaren

Jaren’s 1st Written Letter – October 21, 2010

Hola Familia!!!
The MTC is Muy Fantastico!  I thought college was EFY on Steroids but it dwarfs in comparison to this great place.  The Lord has blessed me so much while I have been here.  He has found it best that I serve as the District Leader for my district.  There are 10 of us counting me, Elders Johnson, Johnston, Smith, Evans, Udall, Price, White, Mayberry, and Lunt. 
My Companion is Elder Johnson and he is a Stud.  I know that the Lord has brought him into my life for a specific purpose.  We are polar opposites.  I am outgoing, he is a shy guy.  But we both preach with, with a great spirit.
Spanish is a taxing language.  I come home to my residence hall every night with sore chops.  I keep amazing myself of how fast I am learning and I make sure to thank God every day.  Up to this point I can now pray, Bare my Testimony and preach some of the first discussion in Spanish.  I know it doesn’t sound like a lot but trust me it really is.
Side Note: We are not supposed to write letters on any day besides Thursdays (which are my P-Days).
Carson (Jaren’s College Roommate & Best Buddy) and I have seen each other one time.  It was just in passing so I was unable to talk to him.  I did however grab him into a bear hug.  He didn’t recognize me at first.  It was pretty funny (because of my short hair).
To answer the food questions.  Yes, there is a lot of food here and it is just like eating at a school cafeteria, Es no bueno aveces.  Have Haleigh try to translate that. (Haleigh did: It is not always good)  For the most part the Cereal Wall of awesomeness is true.  I eat cereal almost every day.  I mean let’s be honest cereal is the best.
I have some allotted gym time everyday and I usually spend it playing basketball.  Our entire district likes to play together.
Tomorrow a general authority is coming to talk to us at a devotional.  I don’t know who but the rumors are it is going to be an apostle.  I am so excited to hear from one of the Lord’s truest servants.
I love and miss you guys so much, but I know that all is well, and the Lord has blessed me more than I deserve.
God Speed
P.S. I am sorry that I haven’t written you all individual letters I promise to do better in the future.  Thank you also so much for the package.  I was hot stuff because I was the first to get food.  Thank you so much.

Jaren begins his missionary journey!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

One day left.

I just want to start by first covering the temple trip that I never talked about. The temple truly is a house of god. I could feel his presence there and it was a huge testimony builder. I really,really appreciated the guidance and love I felt from the family that was able to be there. I cannot express to you my sincere gratitude adequately in words. The temple is a place of deep comfort and I know that it is my responsibly to share that feeling with the great country of Peru. I am going to do my best to attend more often.

Yesterday was my last day to watch TV and as I was watching one last episode of the big bang theory I realized that at one point I thought that giving up television was going to be the hardest obstacle for me to overcome. As I sat and pondered I came to the conclusion that I was wrong, the hardest thing for me to give up was spending time with the people that I love most. I love my family, and I feel really blessed to have had the opportunity to be raised by such loving parents.

After I was set apart later that night, this overwhelming feeling of the magnitude of what I had just done hit me, I had to take a huge breath just to keep myself from breaking down and crying. I just keep telling myself that the lord will give me no challenges, no trials, that I cannot handle. Going on a mission for me has been a 19 year long build up of anticipation. Now that it is here I almost feel like I have lost something. Almost like dogs that chase cars, and once they have caught the car realize that the excitement was all in the chase. This is one of those times that I need to lead my life by faith. Learning to place your trust in the lord is extremely tough, but I am comforted in the knowledge that over time that burden will become lighter.

Today we collected all the final supplies that I needed, sowing kit, white tie, and a few other small things. There is a lot of stuff a missionary needs, and I just want to thank grandma for such a awesome suitcase or should I say suit cases. I had to buy another.

My next post will be from the MTC so I look forward to telling you how everything is going.

With nervous excitement,


Friday, October 8, 2010

Just a little while longer.

Today was my last day at work. To be honest i am pretty happy about it. I really don't enjoy working manual labor. I did learn a few things, that sometimes i have a very narrow minded view of the world. You cannot judge a person but the way they look. (My Boss) I learned the value of a good education, and that I really need to get one. Overall my job taught me discipline. Work hard and don't complain and you will be done before you know it. My Mom and I starting packing my suit case and realized that it was hard to pack for a two year trip. Usually when I go on a trip, its for about a week and I tend to never pack enough socks. Well, I definitely have enough socks... i made sure.