Tuesday, December 28, 2010

"Where's Elder Harris"

Newest group of missionaries to enter the Lima Peru North mission with the Mission President and his wife (Elder  and Sister Blunck).

Monday, December 27, 2010

Wave of Love!

Hola from Peru.

OK!  So fun stuff to think about..First, this is my first Christmas without my family and that also means that I only have one left. Second, if you don’t all know I have been typing this from a Spanish keyboard crazy!!!! Third, I am sending a surprise home that you will all get to see. It should be neat.

Another cool thing that happened to me, I have eaten some really strange things.. For example Chicken feet, Guinea Pig, about 600 different types of potatoes and every fruit you can think of literally.  The best however is when I can walk about three steps in any direction and there is an ice cream man. Fun fact: there are people here that are vendors on the street. Every vendor on the street wants people to come and buy from them, so they all have different whistles and calls that identify what they are selling. For example the ice cream man has a crazy high pitch whistle and blasts it three long times, where as the knife sharpening man (no joke) uses a horn and honks it in a short and fast way. Literally all the vendors make different noises so the streets are really loud. lol I like it cause that’s how I know what stuff they are selling.

Ok so about Peru... about Canto Chico... well honestly I really love the people here. The more I spend time in the city, and the more time that I spend inside their houses, I find that I cannot help but feel love for these people.  The other day we entered a house of an investigator (this home was in the side of the mountain and we had to climb the face of the cliff to get to It.).  Very quickly after we had entered she told us in Spanish to sit and wait. So of course we did... after a few minutes she returned and brought us a mango and cut it up for us to eat. Now this women was one of those people that pretty much has nothing, some people live in houses with real dirt floors and barely a roof over their heads. I am telling you as I sat there and watched three cockroaches run past her legs (no exaggeration), I never felt so much love. This poor humble woman giving me all that she had to offer and her excitement to hear the words of the lord. Literally this is the first time that I have felt the Love of God almost physically transfer to another person, through the spirit. When we spoke to her I could feel the love of God like an overwhelming wave of water. One of the coolest feelings I have ever felt. Lots of times in letters I talk about experiences and my testimony, for all those that read this, know that with all my heart, I know that God loves you. God wants nothing but to have his children return to him worthy to receive eternal life¨... which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God.´´ There are five principles that the world needs, faith in Christ, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. With these five things we can return and live with God. The Lord Knocks at the Door, are we prepared to let him in?
Con amor, Elder Harris

Monday, December 20, 2010

Canto Chico, Peru

Well I am finally here in the field. I know that at other times I’ve said that this was the hardest time of my life, but to be straight up honest with you all... this is the hardest time of my entire life. I am the only white fish in a sea of brown ones. Wow this language is really hard when you are hearing it a 100 miles an hour.
My companion or as they call it here 'Mi Papa' is Elder Xicara.  To pronounce his name, the first part, the 'xi', sounds  like 'she' and the second part sounds like it looks 'cara'. The place we have been first assigned to is called Canto Chico, and it is really great.  I like it here a lot. The people are really poor.  My area is the mountains.  It stinks because I have to climb a massive mountain every day. OH ya, that reminds me,  I figured out why people build houses right on top of each other ... it is because when you build a house in the side of the mountain, you don’t have to pay as much for things.   Most of the time the people that live there are all paying a lump sum for electricity and more often than not they don’t have a bath room.
Really cool thing!!! This week we went into a member’s house, and in the back they had a giant cage...... full of Guinea Pigs.   I was so upset that I didn’t have my camera with me but you don’t have to worry because the member is the Bishop!!!!!!! 
OK so now for the bad news... there is a mission rule here we are not allowed to send pictures at all to anyone. So I have not figured out what to do yet but I hope to think of something soon.
So another cool thing is that this week, this coming Saturday, as in Christmas day, I have two baptisms. As in, I get to be in the water, baptisms!!!  I am so excited.  We have been teaching these two completely different people, both accepted, and are excited to get baptized.  There is a possibility that we will have two more the following week.  The gospel is so true.  I have the privilege to see it change people’s lives first hand.   Trust me, I thank god every day.  
Amazing to me is the condition of some of the people that I have seen and met.  Many are barely living if you can even call it that.  Some just live in a shack with nothing but the clothing on their backs. It is really sad, but I think this is one of the reasons they are so accepting of the gospel, because what we are giving them is happiness and joy. I love my job even though right now it is really, really hard.  Soon however, when I am fully able to communicate the gospel... the World will have to look out cause the Big guns are coming in.
Con amor Elder Harris

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

´´please help Elder Harris to stop snoring.´´

I am so happy that you were able to email me. I feel bad that I haven't had a chance to write any one, but this will work out great. So I wanted to tell you of a cool spiritual experience I had. So the night before I went out to teach in a part of the city (keep in mind that this teaching experience is sort of like a work shop, a practice and we go with the entire CCM). I was feeling really, really tired and I prayed that I would have the opportunity to get a good night sleep. I then went to sleep, and I guess that in about 10 min I was out like a light. One of the other Elders that sleeps in my room was having a really hard time getting to sleep, and I was making it worse because I was snoring really really loudly. So, side note, I have been having really bad sleeps lately and I didn't know why. So anyway, because he wanted to sleep so badly, he said a prayer asking Heavenly Father to ´´please help Elder Harris to stop snoring.´´ He said that within 5 min, I stopped snoring and he was able to go to sleep. I woke up that morning with more energy then I have had for the past few weeks. Long story short, that lord is looking out for us and he really does answer our prayers. Even if sometimes in a sort of silly way. I love the Lord and I know that he loves me. He wants nothing for me but to help him bring more of his children to the truthfulness of this gospel. I love you grandma and will keep writing you as much as a can.
Elder Harris

He knows where we are and what we are doing!

Hola mi Familia,

So Wow, I have only 7 days left and I am no longer in the CCM... I am in the field!!!!

I know that there must be a ton of questions that everyone has and I am sorry that I don’t answer them in this blog. Just know that I still love you.
I have a super cool experience to share with everyone. This past week we got to go out with the entire CCM to a part of the city of Lima and practice proselyting. My companion and I had been crazy with excitement because this is the first time that we have had the opportunity to teach to real people. So we all got on a bus and start heading out there and the first thing we were told was to hide all of our valuables because we were going to be in a ´scary´ neighborhood as my mom likes to call them. I was a little dismayed about that but as I got off the bus my heart filled again with excitement because I could see the hundreds of shoe box houses right in front of me, stacks and stacks and stacks of them. Soon after getting our assignments we went to an area called Palao. My companion and I headed out in search of our first investigator, and we decided, of course, to start with a prayer. After we prayed I noticed that we were right in front of a house and so naturally I knocked, not less than a few seconds later my first investigator ever... slammed the door in my face!! I laughed so hard it was ridiculous. It was a great way to start the morning. So then we moved on and on, house after house, just trying to convince someone to let us in and give them a message. This is the point where I gained a great respect for missionary work. We went just about half way through the day and had about 30 contacts and taught about 5 lessons. We were instructed that all the missionaries needed to meet together at the nearby LDS church. After eating lunch there we would have the opportunity to go back out for another 3 hours. This is where the story begins...30 minutes before lunch we approached a house and this little old lady who spoke super slow Spanish, who was missing all but three of her teeth, started talking to us. We spent about 20 min arguing with her and I knew that we were getting nowhere. Oh by the way everyone here is catholic, just so you all know. Anyway, so we left her and I felt like I had lost the spirit. The end of street that we were on had only about three more houses. My companion and I seemed to be in a fit of spiritual darkness; we walked right by the first house without even knocking on the door. We were about the start to walk by the next one when out the corner of my eye I see a little cartoon angel stuck to the window of this house. Then quite suddenly just like someone was talking right into my ear I heard in English, ´Elder Harris go back to that house and knock on the door.´ I seriously thought one of the other English missionaries were spying on us, so I turned my head around and there was no one there. I immediately stopped walking... grabbed my companion by the back of his shirt, and said in broken Spanish because of my extreme excitement ´this house right here!!! We are going here! I knocked on the door and this wonderful, middle aged woman came out, long story short she accepted us, loved all that we had to say. She took a Book of Mormon, promised to start to read it and to pray, and also we committed her to coming to church on Sunday. I am so grateful that I was given such a powerful message, my faith increased about ten fold. I know that the lord knows us individually. He knows where we are and what we are doing. He is watching over us and guides us in all that we do if we just ask. God wants all his children to repent and come unto him, and partake of everlasting life. I love this gospel and I know with all my heart that this is the true church, that it has been restored and that Joseph Smith was a true prophet and he, with the help of the lord, translated the Book of Mormon. I know that as we have questions in this life all the answers reside in the Book of Mormon. I love you all and will do my best to continue to write for the blog.

con amor Elder Harris

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Obedience, Faith, Confidence, and Love.

Snail Mail arrived today, 4 December 2010
Dear Familia!!!
Peru is a crazy cool place. It is really, really hot. I can go to class and as I walk down the stairs and down the hall to my class I am already sweating like a monkey.
I love my companion. I will send pictures soon of the both of us. Cool fact. The MTC or CCM is right in the middle of the city on the ghetto side. It is so awesome here. They serve rice at every single meal (Jaren has never enjoyed rice at home..lol). By the time you get this (snail mail) you will already know I tasted my first guinea pig and boy was it tasty.
It is fun to think about all the cool stuff that is so different here, namely the birds. The birds are so colorful. There are so many different varieties and all of them have crazy songs. The coolest and I haven’t seen what makes the sound yet but it sounds just exactly like a star wars blaster shot. Lima isn’t exactly beach tropical where I am because the MTC/CCM is 2 hours away from the Pacific Ocean.
Well a few more things that are crazy cool. First is first. Spanish just like in English is full of words that are used in areas specifically.. I mean Jargon. That’s what they mean when they say Peru has pure Spanish. It’s because they don’t have area jargon words, but because of that Peruvians speak extremely fast! It is really hard to understand them. I love it! Soccer is huge here! The Peru CCM has Astroturf field. It is really fun to play on. I love playing with the natives because they kick my butt and that makes it hard to be competitive (Jaren is very competitive!!).
I have met a few more people going to my mission, one of whose name is Elder Frank. Elder Frank is 6”9 and is super smart. Ya, Huge, blows my mind and best of all his companion is 4”11. It’s funny to see them together.
So Fuze-ball is huge here and during physical activity time and after meals we play. Here it is called Taka-Taka which is pronounced with the A sound as a Ah sound. I am getting pretty good.
I was listening to talk by Elder Holland, I loved it because he relates missionary work to going to battle. He said, “Your mission is war,” Yes, I know, War. Every day we fight that same war that was fought in the pre-existence. We must give more than 100% because how much would Christ give? He also said that you should not spend any time resisting the words “Preach my Gospel”. He says that you cannot have it your way and he literally says “This is not Burger King, we don’t hold the pickles.” I love him.

He is so powerful. Obedience is the first law in Heaven. What was the battle in the pre-existence over? That’s right obedience. Everyone knew the gospel once and we chose to accept it that why we got to come here. We are just reminding the people of something they already know about. It’s all about the choice. There are three choices. Your way, and God makes sacrifices. The middle way, where you and God make sacrifices or God’s way, where you sacrifice all. Not too hard of a choice. Our battle is so much closer while we are in the field. Almost like we are the archers and then we are moved to the front line. ..Ending up right at the front doors of investigators. This gospel is so real, so alive, so powerful. We just need to believe that we have the power and have faith.
(Side note) It is pretty nice to look out my window and see a bunch of really green, really big mountains..AKA..The Andes, mind bomb. So much is different here. Building are different, signs, buses, cars, words. It is really like stepping into a different world. Movies just don’t do it justice. (Side note finished)
So it is really cool to trace my priesthood lineage. It goes to Joseph Smith, Mathew, mark, Luke, and John and then to Christ. Blows my mind how cool that is. The things that make you a powerful missionary are simple; Obedience, faith, confidence, and love. That is all it takes and I need to master them all.
Con Dios todos es possible..With God all is possible.
Love ya =Con Amor = With Love,
Elder Harris aka..your son and brother

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Formula for Life

Hello, Hello, Hello, Familia,

WOW, Peru is the greatest place known to man, besides the fact that it is so stinking hot here!
Well the gospel is true and I can’t say that enough.
Here is some information on my companion. His name is Elder Urizar , and he is from Guatemala, AKA super cool. He speaks a slower Spanish than the people of Peru but I still think that he speaks it really fast. OH ya... guess what?? He speaks no English at all !!!!!!!!!!! Sometimes it is really hard to have a conversation cause neither one of us knows what we are saying.. funny. So while you are here in Peru you get to have two companions. You have your Nativo and you Norte Americano. The North American companion is only with you in class because we do not take classes with our Nativo companions. I took pictures of both of them and I will send them to you. It won’t be hard to figure out who is who because one is white/tall and the other is dark and short. Oh and in that picture with the North Americans, my companion is Elder Church (the one in the blue shirt).
SO much has happened since I was last able to talk to you. First thing is first, I went to the temple today, and the whole thing was in Spanish. Super Hard!!!!!, but really, really spiritual. I loved it. I had a blast because I had to ride the bus there and... Let’s just say in Peru, people do not have a 3 foot bubble. It is more like 3 inches or less. I was crammed right in next to a really short lady that was with her son in the same really, really, small seat. Also I was standing and I had to duck the whole time because the bus is made for Nativos, ergo really short people. I have a kink in my neck. ;)

Another really awesome thing is that my teachers are great. They are really nice and both do not speak that much English. So the environment is a sink or swim kind of deal. Just in these last 5 days my Spanish has increased almost tenfold. When you are in an environment where if you aren’t speaking Spanish no one understands what you are saying... trust me you start to learn a lot faster. I don’t know why. (Jokes)
Also another really cool thing, I ATE GUINEA PIG!!!!!! It was so good. Ok, so it seems to me like when someone is describing an uncommon meat they always say that “it tastes like chicken”. This tastes nothing like chicken. It was the most tender roast/pure awesomeness I had ever had and the sauce that they served it with was like tasting creamy spices of the best Mexican/ South American food I have had the privilege to taste. Literally I loved it. I cannot wait until I get the opportunity to eat some more. Also Inca Kola is the new drink of the God´s, It sort of tastes like a carbonated bubble gum with a slight South American twist.

So let’s get down to the nitty, gritty, the gospel is so simple to teach in English and I am convinced that is why the Lord wants me to teach it in Spanish. It is so tough some times to say what you what to say, but you don’t have the words to say it. I have changed my personal study to something similar to the movie “The Other Side of Heaven”. I just place my Spanish scriptures next to my English ones and read it one sentence at a time. Trust me it really works. If you ever want to learn another language, this is how it’s done. Pray for help and start reading the scriptures. Now that I think about it this is also the formula for life, pray and read the scriptures. Funny how these things tend to come full circle. So if you have any questions for me the best thing to do at this time is to email me because mail is really, really slow. I have also sent you a letter with other thoughts in it but it won’t get to you for about a week or two sorry. Just know that I still love you. I love you all and miss you,
Con amor Elder Harris