Monday, November 29, 2010

"give 110%"

Letter to Harris Family before Jaren left for Peru 22 November 2010
Hola Familia!!

Sorry that it has taken me so long to write you a handwritten letter. There is so much to do and so little time to do it all in.
To answer some of your questions, My new companion is a nice guy but he has no heart for this great work. He is a person that believes that the mission rules do not apply to him because he wants to not be a “robot missionary.” We have had many discussions to no avail and found that we just end up being mad at each other. I know that I am not a perfect being, and have no room to judge him. I have a feeling the Lord will greatly humble him someday. He has been involved in less than appropriate things. However he has made the choice to be here and repent of his past. He just needs to realize that the next step is to give 110%.
Well Spanish is coming along nicely. I can now go an entire day without speaking English. Sure there are some things I cannot say but I do my best to look them up.
Side Note: We finally got snow here (Provo, Utah, Nov 21st)
I hope Aubrei is ok with her car accident. I thanked the Lord that she was ok.
We have had a lot of talks this week about “How we are prepared.” I find it interesting that all the prophets there have ever been were chosen before we were born, before they were born. It’s hard to imagine…I see it like we were all standing around Jesus and he was asking for volunteers. If we were pre-destined then does God prepare our lives? I would think, yes, how else would we be found worthy? I read the Book of Mormon daily and I have also read about halfway through “Jesus the Christ”. Jesus the Christ blows my mind!!!! I have learned more about the Master then I’ve ever learned in my short nineteen years of existence. Sometimes I think that the only way Talmage was able to write some of the things he wrote were because he directly interviewed Christ and asked him. It just amazes me how much detail that magnificent book has. I love reading it and I am upset that I chose not to read it before I left.
Well I am sure you are all dying to…I have gained 8 pounds over my entire stay so far (6 weeks). It’s funny cause I have been trying to eat less and less. I play basketball every day, and we play really hard so that we can work off all this food. Think about it though. Wake up, eat, sit in class, eat, sit and study, eat, gym, class, sleep (Eat end of the day snacks too). There is a lot of sitting and eating. So I cannot believe that it is thanksgiving again almost. Just think only one more and before the next I will be home. I seriously feel like I just left you guys in the van, oh I mean truck, like yesterday. The last few weeks are going 100 mph. I barely have time to think let alone eat, sleep, study.
Well a strange thing has happened. I no longer pray in English, like the other day I tried and found I had more to say in Spanish than I could in English. Also another crazy thing I am really starting to understand how the spirit speaks to me. I don’t have still small voice, it’s more like impressions that I get and then I think, and do. It’s amazing! I feel so much more focused now. I feel like the old Jaren has moved out and Elder Harris is starting to move in. Best part of it all is Elder Harris has got his act together and is a lot less messy. I know that this may come as a shocker but the Lord is blessing me with organization. I know crazy right, but the Lord works in mysterious ways.
Something I find is really unfair is that there are some very good looking sister missionaries. I don’t know why I ever had it in my mind that there wouldn’t be…cause there is..But end of that train of thought.
Yo se que dios y Jesuchristo viven, y nos aman y tambien dios llamo profetas por toclos sus hijos. Dios nos dio las escrituras entonces poclemos tener guia y daz y tambien mas gozo. Es importante que monstremos nuestro gratidud por nuestro ben diciones.
En El nombre De Jesucristo Amen
Con Amor – Elder Harris

Thursday, November 25, 2010

I am finally here!!!!!!!!

Hey Familia
So... I am finally here!!!!!!!! This is the craziest place I have ever been. Let me just start with the flight from Salt Lake to Atlanta, I met this wonderful lady named Karen, we began to talk and I of course, being a missionary, began to bring in the gospel. Well... as time progressed I shared with her all of the first lesson and I committed her to reading the book of Mormon and praying to know if what is in the book is true, amazingly she accepted my offer. Then on the plane from Atlanta to Peru, I met a man from Peru whose name was Raul Feilpa and an almost similar situation happened. We began to talk and got around to the gospel and I committed him to read and pray about the book of Mormon. It was one of the coolest experiences that I’ve ever had. So I got of the air plane and took a few pictures ( for mom).
First things first, I have never sweated this much in my life. I thought that I was a really bad sweater, it is like 10 times worse here. I have crazy bad sweats here. It is so HOTTTT!!!!!!!! Also we took this crazy bus to the CCM and I thought that I was going to die about 10 times and this is no joke. The bus driver was the most insane driver ever. We were so close to all these cars next to us and even sometimes super close to the walls of buildings. One of the cool things that I saw on the way here was a super huge McDonalds and the best part was the advertisement on the side. Where there is usually some Pepsi product, there was a huge INCA COLA sign. I laughed so hard.
WOW the CCM is really nice because it is so small, I just got finished with my first meal here and let me tell you... AWESOME. We had the craziest rice and potatoes and pork that I have ever had. The potatoes here are really good. Then they served homemade fried donuts. I just about fell out of my seat because it was soooooo good. So about my companion we all have native companions. I have yet to meet mine, because I have not seen him, but I did sleep right below him in our bunk bed. Funny no?
So everyone speaks super fast Spanish. I am having a very difficult time understanding them but I know that over time I will gradually increase my skills with faith in the Lord. It’s amazing how much more Spanish I’ve been able to pick up in the last 5 hours of being here. So today for our first day, they give us a really lazy day. Just have to eat and go to one meeting and then we get to sleep the rest of the day. I am pretty excited but I am super tired.
More about the CCM, the entire thing is in the middle of a really poor neighborhood but there is a huge wall that surrounds it. This place sort of seems more like a rehab place then it does an MTC. It was an astro-turf soccer field and it has a few basket ball courts. Over all, I think that it is really nice. It has a really pretty court yard area. All of the elders did stay up last night and wait for us. They cheered as we got off the bus and what was super cool was that I got to see my old companion Elder Johnson. He was not feeling good so he was not there at the "gaultlet" but I did find him later that night at bed time. I can already tell that I am going to love this place. Foods good, Spanish well, and atmosphere awesome!!

Con amor
Elder Harris

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

"Called to Serve" and a call home from SLC Airport!

24 November 2010
Well it has been an amazing week for the Harris family and appropriately we have much to give thanks for especially this Thanksgiving!
Elder Harris called home yesterday to tell us his Visa had come. The overwhelming feelings of gratitude to our Heavenly Father are hard to describe. We only know that it feels like a small miracle. We were told by officials that it would be 6 to 8 weeks. He was humble and ready to take any assignment the Lord had in mind for him even if it meant going somewhere stateside. As parents we were upset for him but immensely proud of his attitude.
Elder Harris had the amazing opportunity to speak and bear his testimony to the Peruvian Ambassador just a week or so later. Some may think it was a coincidence but we believe not. He and those Elders, that were held back, had an important mission to fulfill. They needed to help the spirit touch the heart of the Ambassador and we believe they did. Someone mentioned their situation to the Ambassador after he asked why these missionaries were still in the MTC. He said he would check into the VISA problem. Three weeks to the day Jaren was originally supposed to leave his VISA arrived. We feel a need to thank those who prayed for him, fasted for him, and put his name on the temple rolls but most of all we feel the need to thank our Heavenly Father for blessing him for his faith!
When Jaren called us yesterday it was to say he would be leaving today on United Airlines from Salt Lake to Dallas to Florida and then onto Peru. Well severe winter storms came in. They left MTC at 3:00 am and arrived safely for their 6 am flight to find it was canceled. Another test of faith? Yes! All ten Elders in Jaren’s group were able to find seats on Delta airline from Salt Lake to Atlanta, then on to Lima, Peru. Remember it’s the day before Thanksgiving..high travel day..the Lord blessed them again!

Jaren had the opportunity to call us this morning and speak to us about his experiences in the MTC. It was wonderful to hear his voice, to hear firsthand how humble he has become and how dedicated to the Lord’s work he is. He expressed his love and gratitude for family and friends, the letters, and packages and quarters he received. He expressed his love for the Savior and his divine work. He told us of his renewed dedication to living the gospel to its fullness. He told us of his personal challenge to finish reading the book “Jesus the Christ” which he is about half way through. He challenged us as parents to attend the temple more often and to Aubrei, his older sister, to think about going to the temple. He talked about how wonderful his teachers in the MTC were. He discussed how he worked extra each day on his vocabulary so he could articulate better. He challenged his younger two sisters to study the Spanish language more and increase their vocabulary. He said he wanted to be the best he could be and be ready to spread the gospel to the Peruvian people. He mentioned how he was able to see his college roommate and best friend Carson while walking the temple grounds. He said they were able to sit together and talk about their experiences. He told us what a great opportunity it had been to be district leader for five weeks in the MTC. He told us how great the spirit was when he bore his testimony to the Peruvian ambassador. He said he felt blessed that he was able to listen to four apostles of the Lord and two seventies speak while he was there. He told us with excitement of a Sister missionary who grew up in his mission area of North Lima. He loved telling us how he asked her what food she ate growing up. How she told him she ate ants, worms, snakes and crocodiles. We groaned and he laughed. He was especially excited about the crocodiles. He expressed excitement and anticipation about seeing monkeys. He said he has an obsession about monkeys and can’t wait. He told us again and again his love for the Lord. He told us he feels like he knows the Lord Jesus Christ so much better now and wants to know more. He told us that he wants to live so the spirit will always guide him. He said he has had so many promptings that it is just amazing. He said he feels that there is something extremely important in store for him and he needs to live so the spirit will guide him. We are extremely proud of him and very humbled by his example.
Please continue to keep Elder Harris in your hearts and prayers as he labors for the next twenty-two months in Peru.
You can send him mail free through

Friday, November 19, 2010

"Elder Harris stop being dumb"

Hola mi familia y amigos.
Como le va?

I have had a fantastic week this week. First thing first, I am no longer sick. I feel fantastic and I thank everyone that has sent me letters wishing me well. I know that the Lord will bless you. Second this week was the first week that my companion and I got to teach the first lesson all in Spanish. WOWOWOWOW it was really, really hard, but the Lord pulled through for me, because he is the man. My companion, who is struggling with the language, had a hard time but in my personal study this week I spent a lot of time working phrases and vocabulary that I wanted to say. I know that when you prepare yourself the spirit will bring all that you studied to your remembrance. So Haleigh and Saydi study hard and then pray to the Lord so that he will allow the Holy Ghost to bring all that knowledge to you mind. I promise it works. Our district has now made the goal to no longer speak in English, and I have quickly learned that Spanish is all about the verbs. If you know the verb you know the context of the sentence. All the other vocab is not really all that important. Any way back to the lesson, so during the lesson I was just talking in Spanish to the investigator, when all of the sudden a scripture came to my mind. We were talking about the importance of prayer and how prayer is a direct communication with our father in heaven, the investigator who has never prayed like we do, because he was catholic, said that he was unsure of why it was so important. I then, like I said before pulled out of the air (well the credit be to the spirit) a totally awesome scripture. The scripture can be found in the book of Mormon in Enos. Chapter 1 verses 5 and 6, this is the point in which Enos, having extreme faith asks the lord for forgiveness of his sins. The Lord then answers and tells Enos that his sins are forgiven. I have read this passage before but the power of the spirit...... was INSANELY strong and I bore testimony to him that he could have answers to his prayers, maybe not in this exact way, but we can have that exact same feeling and testimony that Enos had. I Explained it better the first time I apologize, but....but the best part was that I didn’t say any of that in English. I related that entire principle the SPANISH!!!!!! After the lesson I learned one of the most valuable lessons that I think I have ever learned. After God gives you a gift, thank him. I have seen the effects of not thanking him. NOT in this situation, I thanked him seconds after I spoke (while my companion was talking) and later that night... But I realized that... we should all look at all these wonderful things that God gives us every day. God loves us so much and gives us almost anything that we want and what are we if we don’t thank him for those blessings. In a talk given by a member of 70s Kevin W. Pearson said something that I think will stick with me the rest of my mission if not my entire life. He said "if we are awake 16 hours in the day working, how many of those hours did you work as a disciple of Jesus Christ." This statement blew my mind, because as a representatives of Jesus Christ what are we but impostors if we do not follow the master and show his great example. I love this church, every time I seem to get a little doubt in my mind the Lord humbles me and tells me bluntly,
"Elder Harris stop being dumb"
Well I have covenanted with the Lord that I will do my best to stop being dumb about the gospel. I know it is true, I know that Christ lived, now it is time to share that knowledge with the rest of the world.

Con Amor
Elder Harris

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The worth of souls is great!

Wow this week has been really hard for me. We are starting to learn upper level Spanish and it was really difficult. I am also super sick... but I remind myself that there is opposition in all things.
Thank you so much for all the letters and packages, every time that I get one it brightens my day. 
Coolest thing ever happened this past week. I had the opportunity to meet the Peru Ambassador. He was one of the coolest people I have ever meet. He was super short like up to my shoulder short and had medium length wavy hair, and the best part was that he was extremely dark, almost like he had been in the sun getting a tan for the last month!!!! 
Side Note: he brought his wife with him, who spoke the fastest Spanish I have ever heard. I literally pulled a " best two years" moment and leaned to my companion and said, “what language is that?” He said, “I think she is speaking Spanish.” We laughed about it later. Anyway I had to go to another class before meeting him and practice some Spanish that would be appropriate to say to him. For example what to call him and how to address him if we had to talk to him and ect. 
There were only 8 of us in the room so if you can imagine we got to really meet this guy. The Ambassador could speak both English and Spanish, but we were told that we should speak English to him if we had a question.
Well here is were the super cool part comes in. He started talking to us about how much he liked that young people in the church and how they had such... determination and focus as to where they are going and what they are doing now. As the conversation progressed he asked the question, Why... Why do you have such determination? If you can believe it, the spirit filled me up with like super confidence. Myself and another elder in the room bore our testimonies to him. IT was one of the best testimonies I have ever given, and what I feel is almost the best part is that I have no idea what I said. I was speaking in English but the words were not mine. I just talked to him and told him of my love for the gospel, without teaching him ( because we were not allowed). Right after we finished with our testimonies he said that he could feel something in the room!!!!!, And that he was interested in find out what the feeling was!!!! Unfortunately we were not allowed to say anything else because we were short on time and he had other "more pressing" appointments to go to. I know that some day that man is going to accept the gospel and that it might be in the near future. AHHHHHHHHH He is so Ripe for the Gospel. Any way it was really really cool and I feel like that may have been one of the reasons I needed to stay in Provo, though I do not know for sure the reason for my extended stay, I do know that all the credit goes to our father in heaven for allowing me to have such a amazing opportunity.
For all of my family and friends, please know that with god anything is possible, and that HE takes the weak and makes them strong. If ever you have the opportunity to show an increase in love for your neighbor, you must do so. God is preparing  a way for you to accomplish his work, and this may be the only chance. Missionary work is so powerful and it transcends the MTC and the Mission, be must all be more of a missionary in our lives, because as we know the worth of souls is great in the sight of God. I know that god lives and the Christ lives. I know that the power of the atonement is real and all we must do is ask for forgiveness with a humble heart and a contrite spirit. I know that a prophet lives. He cares for us and receives modern revelation. I know without a shadow of a doubt that the book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ. With that book, all of our questions can be answered and we can find relief and joy. God loves you, Christ loves you, and I know that they want nothing but to have you back in there out stretched arms.
-Elder Harris

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Study - outside, It's the best!!!

I know that the Lord needs me!


I would love a picture of the family because all of the elders that I know have them and I don’t have a single picture. I can’t wait to see how some of them turned out. (Harris Family just had their portraits done the week before Elder Harris left for the MTC)  Also now that I am think about it please do not send me a picture of myself cause that would be really odd.

Well my companion has left for Peru this week, and I have been given a new companion.  His name is Elder Mayberry. At first I was a little worried about the entire thing but as I have come to know him in the last few days, I have had a change of heart. He is one of the people that on the outside looks and acts silly but when it counts is really in tune with the gospel. We taught out first lesson together yesterday.  It was lesson two and I thought that we were going to do really bad but... we did fantastic. The Lord blessed us with the spirit.

Well in the devotional on Tuesday of this week we had another apostle come and talk to us. Let’s just say M. Russell Ballard, is the man. He gave a very inspirational talk on the power of communication and our dire need to have it. I just am thinking to myself, thank you so much Mom and Dad for putting me into speech and debate classes. From what I hear there may be another apostle this week, and rumor has it that it is Bednar.  That would be super cool cause by far he is my favorite.

Well one really cool opportunity that I get to have because I am staying here in Provo, is that I get to meet the ambassador of Peru. He is coming to the United States, and because he has some interest in the church has told his handlers that he wants to see the MTC. All the Missionaries that are in the MTC right now that are going to the Great Country of Peru get to meet him and talk to him. I am not sure what I am going to say to him... I might ask him if he can get me a visa but that might not be very appropriate. I thought that it would be really cool of I got to teach him the first discussion with my companion. If I can or have the opportunity, if right, I am going to teach him about the gospel. Of course I will be listening to the spirit very intently before I even say anything.

Well I am pretty sick, there is a nasty flu going around and I have a really sore throat. Needless to say it is really making me tired and I fall asleep the second that my head hits the pillow. I have been drinking a ton of orange juice and eating a lot of vitamins so that I can try to kick this thing in the butt. 

Every Thursday night all the elders in my entire building meet on different floors and have a massive tie trade. Most of the time I just look around cause I like the ties that I have. It is really fun because there are elders that really like old fashion ones and ones that only like striped and so on and so forth. It brings in a sense of brotherhood and it is always nice after a day of labor to unwind a little and socialize. So just as a side note please if you can send some of my really nasty old ties maybe from good will or something. :)

The gospel of Jesucristo is on the earth today and I have received of its blessings. I know that the Lord needs me to stay here in the United States a little longer, and that whatever that reason is, it is for my benefit. Yes, I am a little sad that I don’t get to go there yet, don’t get me wrong. As I have slowly been coming to find out the father knows us personally, he knows our weaknesses and our strengths. The key principle is that we must have faith in Christ. "If we do not have faith then how are we to do this great work" M. Russell Ballard.

I love and miss all of you so much and I know that the Lord is blessing you

Elder Harris

P.S. If you get a chance, Sister Hatch has been sending me dear elders and I would like to write her a letter back but I do not have her address.  If you could get that to me I would really appreciate it.

P.S.S. I hope that you got what I sent you in the mail because I thought that it was really cool, and the pictures too.

Me and Elder Johnston

The District in suits.

I will go, I will do.

Hey Family,
Well I don’t know what the Lord wants but I do know that it is for my good.  Unfortunately I will not be leaving for Peru.  I am a little bummed but…I will go, I will do. 
The MTC is pretty fun, I really like learning Spanish and I feel like I can say quite a bit of things now.
Some news...because I am not leaving this week I get a special opportunity.  The U.S. embassy is hosting the Peruvian Ambassador and He want to come to the MTC.  I get to meet him and spend time with him this Thursday.  Maybe I will ask him to get me a Visa, LOL. 
I love getting the packages and letters.  They really brighten my day. 
Tell me what you know about the Visa thing if you know more than me.  This is all I know: The Lady in the travel office told me that my paperwork had been “lost.”  She, after I asked, told me she had no idea of an expected time they might get it.  One of the three things can happen now.  I can get my visa within the next week or so and still go to the Peru MTC.  I can stay here for 6 more weeks, and hopefully get my visa, or if it doesn’t come in by that time I will be reassigned.  Pray hard that my Visa comes quick! J I just keep or I have been keeping my mind off of this and throwing myself more forcefully into my work. 
If you could I would love you forever if you could send me some more ties.  I quickly found that I need (crossed out) want more.
It was nice to hear your voices again.  I thought that it was funny that I said, “Hi, this is your son, Elder Harris.”  Don’t be too mad about this whole Visa thing.  Now that I think about it, the Lord has a plan.
Please tell Grandma Harris that I received her letter and that I will write her back soon.  Tell Grandma, Grandpa Murphy and the Messers that I also love them a ton, and Thank you for the letters!  Here are some pictures.  I will send more I promise.  I just have no, work, work.  I love it.  No other time has felt like this.
Tell me how home is and do it in ‘Dear Elders’.  They are so much easier on all sides. 
I miss you and love you,
-Elder Harris
P.S. It is starting to get cold here.  If you get a chance can you send my black coat, my mobster one, not because of that but because it is warm.
P.S.S. So the ring stands for “Haz Lo Justo” This is a statement in the command form of Spanish.  It translates to “Do the Just”.  We laugh because it is almost like a “Do the Just or Else.”  Thought it would be fun. (Elder Jaren Harris sent a ring that looks like the CTR green rings they give out in primary to each of his sisters, Mom & Dad – fun surprise!)

First Day - 1st picture of mission!

Elder Harris and his 1st companion Elder Johnson