Thursday, June 30, 2011

Jesus washed the feet of the Apostles

The Journey continues…
Well it seems like Peru just does have the ability to keep surprising me. I have officially fallen in love with one of the dishes here in Peru called Papa De Huancaina. It is really good, I like it a lot. There are about 600 different variations and every family has their secret recipe. Of all the variations that I like the most is when they use milk to make it because the sauce is a lot creamier.
I have some exciting news, This Saturday is the baptism of one of my investigators. His name is Noe… the name in English is Noah. He is a great guy.  He has a strong testimony. He is 20 years old and is a super hippy. He hasn’t taken a bath in a month. We are a little worried that we might be washing away a little more than sins. How we found him is actually a cool story. When I was in the CCM, I don’t remember if you remember, but there was a week when I left for the very first time to proselyte. It’s called blitz week in the CCM and well the CCM did that blitz in the area I am in now… the week before I arrived here. In other words.. What they do as missionaries that won’t be coming back to visit the area they leave their references for us in the area. We found the name of Noe in the references that the CCM left. Noe, when we first came to the door… looked like he had just woken up from a nap. That’s because he had just woken up from a nap. We came in and through great big sighs and yawns from Noe… we shared the first lesson with him. It was funny because we thought that he wouldn’t want us to come back because he really did not seem interested in what we were saying. As we were coming to a close with the lesson we taught him how to pray and asked him if he would be willing to share a  prayer. He laughed a little and then asked us to explain again how to pray. We all laughed then and explained again how to pray. He said a fantastic prayer… most likely because he was fully awake by then. We came back, and came back, and came back.  He has been in church these last two Sundays and has all that he needs to pass his interview today. We are all super excited.
One of the great lessons that I am slowly learning here on the mission is how to be humble. Humility is really the key to success. I have been reading a lot about the war chapters in the book of Mormon and I have come to the conclusion that for us to really obtain all the blessings of god we need to examine our own personal pride. A companion is a good source of practice. Sometimes I really want to teach. I really want to say something that comes to my mind. I must in turn realize that my companion, just like me, is called specifically to be in this area at this same time. The ability to take instruction and/or rather constructive criticism and apply it in my life has always been a hard pill to swallow. I don’t, like most people, want someone else to tell me that I am doing something wrong. I have now learned that there is a large difference between help given through love and help given to burn. I tend to think of Jesus in this moment when he washed the feet of the apostles. I would think that most people consider the foot of someone else an unpleasant eye sore, and to touch the foot of someone else naturally being the furthest thought in their mind. Imagine the condition of people’s feet in ancient Israel, and tell me that what Jesus did was not absolutely incredible. I find that through the Lord´s example we can become better people… live a happier life. 
Love you all and I hope that everything is great.
I would love it if you would send me pictures too. We could do an exchange three for three every week… please.
A little about my ward, it is not all that big, maybe 50 to 75 people, but there should be a ton more.  There are lots of less active members.
My pensionista... I will send a picture of her this Monday.. ok so the three pictures this Monday will be three in my suit and the next Monday will be baptism and my pensionista and then a picture from the temple ya ……
 Love you all!!!!            Elder Harris
Photo information:

1) This is a door that we knocked on that was really far away and I had to use a stick to get to it.

2) Me with Noe washing dishes in his house.

3) My companion and I started playing horse with a little plastic ball and the trash can. Well..I lost!!!!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

By the Power of the Priesthood

Strange event
Well I am extremely happy that you had a great stake conference and that you had the opportunity to learn a lot from it. The Lord tells us in Preach My Gospel that the fastest way for us to learn is to write, meditate, and study what is said, not just listen and it seems like you are doing that really well. I hope that Dad had a really great Father’s day and that he is happy. I was thinking about you, Dad, this week because one of the people that live in my pensionistas’ house brought home a pirated copy of THOR. Of course we didn’t watch it but, wow, I didn’t know that Natalie Portman was going to be in it. I am excited to have that movie day with you when I get back.
The strangeness begins…
This last week on Monday my companion and I were planning together at night for the next day.  As we were planning we came across an appointment that I had written down at 2:00. We thought nothing about it.  We planned to go and visit this person the following day. The name that I had written down was Gladis. We were happy and ready for a big day ahead of us.  When we arrived at the house at 2:00 I knocked on the big metal door and we waited patiently. Within moments after knocking a middle aged women stuck her head out of the window on the second floor. I then said that we had written down the address to this house and that we were looking for Gladis. She quickly explained to me that this was not the house that I was looking for because there was no Gladis that lived there. We were a little bit sad but decided that we should invite her to the church any ways…upon talking to her more in her general direction she disappeared from the window. My companion laughed and told me that she must not have wanted to listen.  We waited for a minute and then started walking away.  She appeared in the doorway. Again we explained who we were and that we had a message about Jesus Christ that we would like to share with her. She told us that she would love to hear the message all the while trying to step out of the door. I was firm in where I was standing which was right in front of her face basically and I asked if we could come into her house to share the message. She looked at me right in the eyes and said no. I thought that she was going to slam the door or walk away but she didn’t, she just stood there waiting for our message. I then felt prompted to ask… Sister is there something that we can do to help you. She looked down at the dirt and looked back up at me with an expression of fear. She then frankly told us that her house was possessed by demons. I looked at my companion and I found on his face a look of pure shock. She explained to us that for the space of 5 years she has been having people come over to her house periodically to banish evil spirits… and that this very day she was waiting for a preacher to come by and do whatever they do get rid of evil spirits. She said she was very tired of inviting people over because nothing seemed to work. All of the alarms went off in my head like I was shocked by lightning. One thought entered my mind… we need to enter the house and bless it. I looked back at my companion and his expression had changed too, from shock to determination. Right there in the door I explained to the sister that we had the power to do what she wanted… only that she need to have faith that two young men could do it. I must have been convincing because she opened the door for us to go in. I entered the house and what was a warm day was instantaneously cold. I felt shivers down my spine and my breath became short. This is no exaggeration; in reality I was having trouble breathing. I felt a nasty pressure squeezing my lungs together. I would describe it like going from day to night in a matter of milliseconds. We pushed forward into the house sitting ourselves in the living room. The sister at this point (we didn’t even know her name) suddenly puts her hand to her head and explains to us that a sharp pain was stabbing her. My companion then grabbed my arm and said we needed to bless this house right now. We asked her if she would get on her knees without explaining what we were doing, just that we were going to pray. I then dedicated the house. While I was praying I felt like I was getting sicker and sicker, literally like I wanted to throw up. I finished the prayer and the feeling vanished. My companion then stood up and more or less yelled: by the power of the priesthood which I hold and in the name of Jesus Christ I command that all the evil spirits in this house to leave!!!!   I felt like I finally pulled myself up from the bottom of the pool.
We then explained to her that the power of the priesthood has returned to the earth.  We told her we had absolutely no idea why we had her address but that we were extremely privileged to find her. She then explained to us that she too felt very different, that it was not bad but very, very good.  She wants us to come back. I would want us to come back too if I was her.
The power of God is real. I know it… without doubt.
Elder Harris

Monday, June 13, 2011

I just like the way Elder Harris laughs!

I have spent most of this week in a sweater… its sort of cold here. It is not the typical kind of cold that you would normally think of.  It’s the really thick, wet air cold that chills the bones. I kind of like it because it is a little bit better that the extreme hot that I usually have been feeling. I am sorry about the crazy basement problems… I really do wish that I could have been there to help you all out.  I just hope and pray that the rain passes so that you can get some real rest. It is summer time, so the girls are on vacation. I am just happy that they are there to help you both out.  
I had a pretty neat experience this week that maybe I can share with you to make you feel a lot happier.  We have a new family that we are teaching called the family Valencia. They are really great.  It is going to be super hard to teach them because they all aren’t progressing at the same rate. There is the dad named Manuel and his wife Pamela and their three kids which I don’t know their names yet. One of the daughters is progressing at about 100 miles an hour.  She reads and she came to church this week. The father is also progressing rapidly but still needs a ton of work. The Mom just likes to listen and one of the other daughters too.  Then we have the son that wants nothing to do with us.  As the story goes we were teaching this family and we found out that he had lived in the United States for about 12 years.  He came back so that he could live with his family. The funny thing is that he wants to practice his English with me. I started talking to him quickly in English.  He looked at me like he knew what I was saying so I continued on in the lesson until I realized that he had no idea what I was saying. I started to laugh and they all looked at like I was totally crazy… including my companion. If you can imagine I am in the middle of a really important point about prophets and I just started laugh hysterically. It all went over well because about in the middle my laughing he, the father, Manuel joined in because he thought that I had said a joke. He didn’t want to show that he didn’t understand very well so he just laughed it up with me for about 2 minutes.  The best part of it all was that my companion knows a lot of English and he was following along nicely.  He turn over to me and looks at me strangely and in broken English says… ¨I don’t understand the joke¨ Manuel at this point wasn’t laughing very hard and heard my companion say what he said. He looked at me and then looked back to my companion.  He said in Spanish ¨I don’t understand either I just like the way Elder Harris laughs. We all then started to laugh hysterically. The Mom and the two daughters just sat there totally oblivious. After that it was really hard to bring the spirit back into the lesson so we made an appointment for the next day and told him that we would come back, pretty much super silly.
I like it here in Lima and I don’t like it here in Lima. I have been thinking about what we are going to do when you guys come...if you come. I came to two conclusions
1. If you don’t come I am totally ok with that. I don’t have a single problem. In my heart of hearts I have always wanted that RM home coming like a rock star coming off the plane.
2. If you do come the only thing that I want to do with you is go to Machu Pichu. It is one of the wonders of the world and it is an area that has a lot of tourists which is good because less people will want to rob from us. It is really not a good idea for three gringos to walk around in an area that is in the suburbs because well… ya not a good Idea. I want Aubrei to have an amazing wedding, so do everything that you can to make that possible. She comes first before me.
Picture one
This is one of the coolest pictures that I have. There was a conference and all three of my companions were there I had to get a picture.
Picture two
This is my companion and I at the Pacific Ocean crazy, lol (see top of page)
Picture three
yah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! PIZZZZAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I found my long lost love!!!!!
I love you all so much.  I miss you all. As of today I have 8 months in the mission. Crazy fast how time flies!

Elder Harris

Monday, June 6, 2011

Doing What You Don’t Want To Do, But You Know You Have To!

Greetings from the great city of Lima,
 Well once again I have returned to the ¨Big Mango.¨ I find it just as dirty and smelly as when I left it.  My new companion is a really cool guy. He is from Guatemala, so if anyone is counting, this is my fourth Latino companion and the fourth that have come from Guatemala.  I really need to go to Guatemala some day. I have made a ton of really cool friends who live there. My companion’s name is Elder Bonilla.  He is a really strong and obedient worker, which I like a lot.  I can really rely on him to get things done. I really realized this week that the Lord works in really strange ways and most of the time not in the way we expect him to work. I really didn’t want to go back to Lima.  First of all because my experience before wasn’t all that enjoyable.  I have a great love for the people of Iquitos.  I know that the Lord knows this about me and I hope that one day he will bless me with the opportunity to return there. I am sending you a picture of my new companion.
 So … today my focus is really on a subject that all the people in the world know about. Basically I want to talk about what I have phrased… Doing what you don’t want to do, but you know you have to. Sometimes in our lives we have to make decisions that in the here and now we can’t see the meaning of but in the long run we can see the blessing. What it really comes down to is the ability for us here on this earth to have humility. Humility defined by Elder Harris is simply being unpridefull. Humility is an attitude of Christ that many find extremely difficult to obtain. Why? That which is always affecting our choices in reality is personal pride.  For example when I was in seminary how many times, Mom, did I not want to go or I was just too lazy to get up. My personal pride was my downfall.  The reason I didn’t want to get up was because I wanted to sleep. Thus inferring that sleep was more important to me than was spiritual knowledge, a lack of humility always results in prideful actions. I was thinking just now about how you told me about how you, the girls, and Dad were sucking water in our flooded basement this week. Literally I felt really bad, deeply upset when I read that in the letter because I was not there to help… I can just see in my mind what it was like… and I want you to know that I really will pray that it stops raining because I don’t want that to happen again. But to come back to humility I know this… if pride is the cause of all sin, AKA root of all evil, what does that make humility..?.. The opposite of pride, the root of all that is good???  I love you guys and I will send some super sweet pictures next week.
Con Amor Elder Harris
Questions and Answers:
So how is Lima?  Lima is cold.  (See picture..Jaren is wearing a sweater)
What is your companion like?  He is super funny.
Where is he from?  Guatemala
Do you get along?  We are getting along great!
How long has he been in Lima?  He has been here for one and a half months.
What are you planning for your P-day?  I don’t have a clue.  I hope something fun.
How is your new pensionista?  My new pensionista is super tiny.  I will take a picture of her.
Did you ever take pictures of your last pensionista in Iquitos?  No, I forgot to.
How was the plane trip?  The plane ride was dull.
Are you happy to spend some time back in Lima? Well, I guess we will see.
How is your health?  My health is improving.
Did you get over your cold?  No, not yet with the cold.
How is everything else? Everything else as of today is great.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

"Fishers of Men"

Fishing in Iquitos!!!
I went fishing this last week in a small pond basically outside of my pensionista´s husband´s mom´s house. I had a blast. I sent a picture with my giant fish. It was really different to fish here. I don’t know if you can tell but the pole in the picture is literally a really thin but strong piece of bamboo and just tied to the end of it is the fishing line. Fishing where we are from is with a artificial fishing pole with powerful line and bait that we buy in a gas station. Here we had to find the worms before we fished.  We found some other really interesting plants too. (I am sending you the video) We had to buy our line from this crazy story.  You cannot buy it in a package like at home but by the meter. We didn’t fish like we do at home.  We had to just throw out our line.  The second that we felt something touch our line we had to pull up with a flick of our wrists. It was super fun almost like playing a video game and not fishing. All of the fish were super small but really, really hungry. This is what brings me to my spiritual thought.  We had two baptisms this week… One of the most powerful analogies that our Lord Jesus Christ used was that of the ¨fishers of men¨. Let me just tell you it is a whole lot easier to fish for little fishes in the pond than for men in Iquitos.  This week we baptized Francisco. He is the little the little chubby guy.  Jim is the tall thick guy. Jim is a story and a half… he first came to church to pick up on girls. Ya, he is 50 years old… weird. After we went through almost 8 weeks of attending church… and when the fruits of honest repentance could be found, we had the opportunity this last Saturday to baptize him. I love that guy. Super strange but I know that he was be a power member of the church. Francisco is complicated… he has had lots of problems with the Word of Wisdom. He finally gave it up… got married and now this week we baptized him. I love the picture were we are all wet right after we left the water… good thinking to snag that photo. To be honest it may be easier to fish in a pond but you can never catch that same level of joy that you can get from a baptism. I use the word joy for a reason because in reality it is more than satisfaction or contentment… it is that which I know God feels. Pure… raw… overwhelming JOY!!!!!
This brings me to my latest news… I have received a change. I will be going back to Lima this Tuesday.  I don’t know where yet because they just told me that I was going there and nothing more for information. So in other words I will be writing you from Lima next week… with new companion info and area info. I know that the Lord works in very mysterious ways… because just like my first change my companion is changing too. Elder Paiz is also going to Lima and he too knows absolutely nothing. We are hoping that we are in the same zone. I guess we will have to see. The chance of being in the same zone is very, very small… We can dream.
What have I learned here in Iquitos…there is a huge difference between living the church and living the gospel.  So many members here don’t know what the real responsibility of a church member is, that responsibility being to spread the love.  Spread the gospel to the entire world. We are as the army of Helaman.  We have been taught in our youth, and We will be the Lord missionaries to bring the world his truth. No part of that song says that you have to be 19 or 21. Every member being a missionary is a divine calling from the Lord. Our daily example should be a testament to others of our difference… because that which is of the world is never of God. The world fights against god… berating, defiling, and tarnishing his sacred name. The young women´s value is applicable; We must stand as witnesses of God in all times and places. The Lord is our example… Perfect this example was, in other words there is no reason to change that which is perfect. Come unto Me the Savior said and let us in his footsteps tread. He loves you and wants you to bring more sheep to the fold.
Elder Jaren Harris

Peruvian Adventures

The land of Peru is full of mystery
First let me start by saying that this week there will be changes and it looks as though my companion will be leaving me. What do I think about…I really don’t know? I will really miss him. He is one of my the best friends that I have ever had. We have shared some very amazing experiences.  It is going to be hard to stay in the same area with a different companion. Don’t get me wrong I am super excited to start new adventures… I just hope that my new companion is super cool. I also kind of want him to be from Guatemala.  All of my companions so far are from there so I don’t want to break the tradition.
One of the families that we are concentrating on right now is the Familia Rios… this family is a little crazy.  We are hoping to get them married off here in June so that we can baptism them.  If it all works out we might be able to baptize the six of them. Pray that everything works out. They are a really crazy family.  He is a moto driver and she is literally insane… ok that’s not true.. she is just really odd.  What we really want is for them to get baptized so that we can baptize their 16 year old son and get him preparing for a mission.
My heath has taken a turn for the worse lately. I have a really swollen throat and a cough but no need to worry because I have taken care of it and I am now on the up side.
Our contacts are doing better… we have the goal to contact 100 people every week, the majority of the time we are above that but it’s just not enough sometimes. I now realize that you are asking about contact lens and not contact people on the street lol. They are just fine… I have really taken to wearing my glasses… I know shocker but I don’t want to have to buy more contacts.
You know what I have been really craving lately?  I have been craving some of those sweet tart jelly beans or those other nerds jelly beans… sorry I know that does not help because they don’t even have those any more.
Well now it time to talk about the mysteries of the jungle. Well in our home land of the USA we have many stories … vampires, werewolves, witches and headless horseman… but here in the jungle the stories are a little bit stranger. One of the more crazy stories is that of the Churichaki. The Churichaki is a large man that is mostly covered in hair but has large patches of pure bald spots that run throughout his body… he stands at a colossal height of… 4 feet tall and one of his feet (and it is always the left in all the stories) is just a large ball of flesh. In the stories you are being chased by a Churichaki because you can hear a thud every other step. The Churichaki is the guardian of the jungle and he has total control of the animals. The Churichaki has his special parts of the jungle. As the stories goes if you find the land of the Churichaki… it is perfectly organized and clean… not a single leaf or bug on the ground. If one were to contaminate this ¨cursed¨ ground the Churichaki will appear. Now this is the strangest part… the Churichaki never appears as himself. The Churichaki has the power to transform his body into that of a loved one… he then lures you into the jungle never to return.  The only way to know that he is the Churichaki is to look at his feet because the large ball of flesh that he has for a foot can never change. AHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! The other super interesting legend of the jungle that I am always hearing  is the Yamapuma. This is an actual animal, this is the name of the Black jaguar that they have here. This animal is basically the evil king of the jungle. The Savanna has the lion… the Ocean has the great white shark, the forest has the grizzly bear and the jungle has the YAMAPUMA!!!!  It is just as you can imagine a really, really big cat, jet black and mean. There are lots of stories of these cats in the forest.  They are solos, never together, and no one knows how more of them keep showing up adding to the mystery of the beast. They are supposed to be bigger than a normal jaguar but slender and fast. By all reports it is very true that they live in the trees and they pounce out of the trees to eat their prey. This is the only animal that the Churichaki doesn’t have control over because he too is afraid of it. The people here say that you can only find this cat in the deepest part of the jungles because it detests human beings and civilization. They really speak of it like it is almost a human being. Crazy sause!?!
Love ya and I will tell you more next week.
Next week on: Peruvian Adventures
Fishing in the Amazon!!!!!!
 I love you stop
Peanut butter would be nice stop
New ties stop
Love you again stop