Monday, July 25, 2011

Asking With Faith

Wow it seems like the whole world is good right now.
We had a fantastic week. We have been working with some really great families and well, this week they all decided to come to the Church. We were so happy. We had ten people come. That’s a record for me.  One time when I was with Elder Paiz we had 12 people come, but we had two wards, so that doesn’t count.
Something fun that you don’t know is that every single day I eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner with two other missionaries other than my companion. The ward that we have is really big so we need four missionaries in the area.  The new missionaries just came.  One of them is a greenie from Missouri named Elder Frost. I have been having fun helping him learn Spanish. He is not very good at pronouncing the words.  It’s little by little at first. It’s been fun to think that I am not a Greenie any more. I am starting to get “old” in the mission. Not super old like 20 months, but wow, in like 15 days I will have 10 months in the mission. Sort of hard to believe that now I have served in the mission longer than I worked the summer before. I felt like that summer was the longest in my entire life. I guess I felt I was still pretty new in the mission but when Elder Frost came… I realized that I have a little bit of time in here. The real big gage we use here to know when you have served a lot of time is if you have served in the Jungle. It’s been fun to tell him, Elder Frost, all about the different things that we do there in the jungle and how the people are. I got him really excited to go there.
Oh, before I forget I don’t know how I am going to get another pink tie but I will try and I promise that this next Monday I will send the pictures that you want. I have a secret to tell you. I saw the blog. I was talking to Noe, my convert, and before I could do anything he opened it up.   Well, I saw it all, and wow it’s really cool. I liked how you put the picture of my zone up on the front and the part that has all the names of my companions.
The Zone conference that we had was super great.  I had the opportunity to see all of the guys from my group.  We swapped stories about where we had all been. It was really lucky that 5 of the 6 of us were there and all of us have served in different parts of the jungle. We all shared our experiences like we were experts in our part of the jungle. A cool part is that I served the longest in the jungle, that’s because I wasn’t as sick as they all got. All of them had to return to Lima because they were really sick. I think all of that praying we all did cashed in. 
Something that I have been learning really well here in the mission is that the missionaries are normal people too. All of the things that I have been teaching I have come to realize can be used not just here in the mission but in all of my life. Ok, I know that this is a little corny but here is a good example. I have been in a lot lessons now.  Every single time that we teach someone new, they always want me to pray. I have been praying.  I ask for normal things like bless the family with good health and with knowledge, bless them with work, and bless them with food on their table… lots of really normal things. I have been reading in Preach my Gospel Book and I found something really interesting that burned me pretty bad. There is a part in the 10th chapter in the Spanish version that talks about how we should pray. Specifically says that we need to pray with a precise purpose.  With a precise purpose that the investigator will understand what we are saying through the power of the Holy Ghost. The lesson that I learned is this… A lot of times I just have been thinking in my head that the Holy Ghost will come and help me because I am teaching, but we need to ask for the blessing before he can give us his power. In our lives we just expect sometimes the blessings from the Lord.  We need to spend more time asking with faith.
Learning Working and Slowly Progressing, Elder Harris

Church with Noe

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Q and A

Wow how cool it is to see you in those earrings in the picture you sent. I am always wondering about that stuff, if what I sent arrived and the condition that it all arrived in. This next week I am going to send a cd that has a ton of photos on it. Hopefully it will arrive without any problems.
So in response to the millions of questions Mom asked.
How is the work? The work right now is pretty hard we are trying hard to find new people to teach and we are having some success now and then. These things come with time.
How is my companion? My companion is the same old fart. I think that he is great, really funny and likes to have fun; makes the work a little bit easier.
What are you doing for your Preparation day (P-day)? Today we are having a very unusual event happen we are having a massive multiple zone conference slash family home evening tonight. I think that it is going to be super sweet because I get to see some of the guys from my group. I will be sure to bring my camera.
Are there any Holiday coming up?  (We asked this because we don’t always receive a letter when a holiday comes along.)  Well we just had a crazy holiday here. One of the major catholic saints had a “birthday” so there were crazy long lines of people in the streets yelling and holding flowers. It was pretty interesting to see them all and it made it pretty hard to teach because everyone was outside.
How is the food?  What are you eating?  The food here well… its food. Still lots of rice and chicken and rice and chicken and rice and chicken and rice and chicken… oh ya and a little bit more of rice and chicken and rice and chicken… and sometimes… they serve rice and chicken.
What else do you do on P-days?  This p-day we are going to play the national sport of South American.  Here in the South America they call it futbol, but in the United States of America we call it SOCCER. I am pretty tired of playing soccer.
Do you do your own laundry?  Well we have a place that does our Laundry for us. When I was in Iquitos the pensionista, ya, she did everything, but here we take all our dirty clothing to the Laundry mat.
What did you do on the 4th of July?  I spent the fourth of July… working… because that holiday doesn’t exist here! Hahahahah.
What is the weather like?  It is hard for me to remember that it is summer in Montana right now… nuts. Right now it is pretty cold, that’s only because of the humidity.
How is your health?  I have a cold right now but that’s all good… I would rather have a cold then be stomach sick again like I was in Iquitos.
How are your shoes holding up?  (He talked about black boots but we couldn’t find them at home) The black boots, Yes, we thought about buying the ankle high boots but we never bought them because I didn’t want to spend the money on them. So stop looking for them! The other dock martins that I took with me were… drum role… awful. They fell apart; I will send you a picture of them. It’s pretty funny. I have taken Uncle Joe´s shoes three times to a tailor because those too keep falling apart. Hmmmmmmm maybe the military has a boot that will last a little longer. I don’t want shin high boots, only above the ankle if that is possible.
Interesting side note… I say this with love… but… Mom, Dad you are just such a sweet couple of old koots. I love seeing pictures of you guys. It makes me super happy to see all the differences in you. I don’t know, I don’t feel like I am changing all that much, but you all are starting to look different to me. Maybe because I am surround by Latinos… or maybe I am just imagining things.
Well I am happy that Aubrei and John are still going strong. I hope that everything goes super well. I just keep saying the same thing every week but that’s because I really don’t know anything… that’s ok though.
I saw a poster for Captain America this week while I was on the bus. So as you can assume it was only for like 6 seconds, Looks cool.
I think by now you can tell that I don’t have a cool story for this week. I was thinking about what I could write about today.  I arrived at the conclusion that I have no idea. (So he answered all of Mom’s questions..Yeah!!)
Love you all so much
 Elder Harris

Monday, July 11, 2011

Doctrines, Principles, and Applications

Thanks dad for your letter and I know exactly what you mean… really it is super hard to write about something different every week because sometimes there is just nothing going on.
So I will have to take some new pictures hopefully I can take them in better lighting so that you have better pictures on your side.
I have been reading a lot in the Book of Mormon lately. I have been spending a lot of time to really study the book. To take out all that I can from the pages. I have taken to marking it and writing down my thoughts on sticky notes.  I have also made it one of my goals to come back and have the ability to answer whatever question Haleigh or Saydi has in their Spanish home work. Don’t worry girls I am coming back… just wait for me!!!!!
 I have been spending a lot of time in reflection. Thinking about how much I have changed. This all began with one of our investigators. We have an investigator that left for the United States to work when his children were 13 and 10 and like 4. When he came back 12 years later, he though in his mind he knew that his children would change, but still expected to find them a little bit like he left them. We had a very deep conversation with him that eventually lead to tears… he was having a hard time with the fact that his youngest daughter, now 16, didn’t like him and doesn’t respect what he tells her. To be honest I shared a little about our family and what has happened to us. We arrived at a humbling conclusion. He will always be the father of the family, the provider, the protector. Sometimes when we are young we cannot see that we take advantage of our blessing like the Nephites. They had many blessings, and peace in the land but because of pride all returned to war and bloodshed. Sure in this day and age we don’t use swords, axes or bows… but our words can cause more damage than material weapons. The ability to control our words is a talent. The urge to yell, more often than not, triumphs over reason. I quickly realized in this lesson that I was learning a principle of life. How do I apply this knowledge? In a talk given to missionaries in the MTC Elder Bednar said that we could have success in the mission if we applied three ideologies in our teachings. He counseled us in that we could improve every message given by categorizing the lesson in Doctrines, Principles, and Applications. For example if I wanted to teach a lesson about the Atonement (doctrine), the principles are the fall of Adam, and our purpose here on the earth and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and repentance.  How do I apply the Atonement? I can repent; partake of the sacrament, fast, read the scriptures about the Atonement, ect. If I apply this same system of thought to the lesson I had with my investigator, I am able to see the situation differently. In this case I began in reverse; the application is humility and an increase in love.  I need to ask myself, what could I teach him that could help him to be more humble and loving? Faiths, repentance, baptism, receive the Holy Ghost and endure to the end. Doctrine: the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This method of thinking can develop the stronger capability to teach to the needs of someone and not the lessons. I know that all I learn here in the mission is applicable outside the 2 year training period. The mission trains the missionary to be a better convert just as quickly as he is willing to accept the fact that we to must learn.
What will it be like to come back? I don’t know.
Will everyone change while I am gone? You can bet on it.
Is there any reason to worry about it? Absolutely not!
Love ya and miss ya
Elder Harris
There are only three things that i really do need. thumb drive, ankle high black boots and................................... a new journal!!!!!!!!!!!

Noe Baptism

Another Great Day!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Boosted My Testimony Of Fasting

Well Hello….
I loved seeing the pictures!!!!!! They was really cool… to see the pictures of the girls at girls camp and the pictures of Aubrei and John… (I am looking forward to being an uncle).
The name of my ward and the area I serve is called Mariscal Casceres. My typical day is get up at 6:30, pray, then jump up and down a little, scream at the top of my lungs, then head off to the shower.  Then get dressed, run down stairs and across the street. Eat breakfast which is one scrambled egg and some bread.  Then go right back to the room and study. First I study by myself for an hour, later with the companion for an hour, and then the language for an hour. After that we pray and head out to start the day. We are out there knocking on doors until lunch at 1:00.  We eat in a member’s house … usually rice and chicken… then we head out again to proselyte until 5:00. Eat a small dinner of pancakes.  Next run back out to our appointments in the night.  Come back to the house about 9 or 9:30 then we plan for the next day.  I write in my journal.  Take a shower. Sleep and start all over again. 
My companion is great.  He is really funny and likes to work hard, so we get along well. He is not new, he has 14 months. The Spanish is coming along really great… super fantastic.  I really like having the ability to talk in a foreign language.  I am super pumped to come home and talk to John in Spanish and have Aubrei not understand a thing. As of today I have yet to give a talk in this new ward. I did give an introduction of myself just like the missionaries at home do… but that’s super easy. You need to look at the food on the internet because I really don’t know what to say about it.
(Mom asked what he wanted for his birthday and this is answer)                                                 Well I was thinking about the next package. It would be nice to have some flaming hot Cheetos and Zours and well any of my favorite sour and hot candies. In my dreams of dreams, it would be nice if you sent my black ankle high boots. Then I could do some serious tracking, that would be incredible and the thumb drive.

Neat experience this week….
I was fasting for a family that we are teaching. The purpose of my fast was to help the mom of this family have the desire to be married to her husband. He loves the gospel and is coming to church but cannot be baptized because she doesn’t want to get married to him. The strange/best part is that they have been together for 25 years… amazing right?  So we went to teach them last night… so earlier I broke my fast at lunch. We entered the house and fantastic the whole family was together. This was miracle one. We always just teach him, the papa, and his daughter. We started teaching lesson three, which talks about getting baptized as the focus of the lesson. We arrived at the baptism part of the conversation when the daughter said something really interesting that I thought I would never hear leave her mouth. She is 22 years old and said “can you explain to me why my father cannot get baptized” the funny thing is we had explained this before… before I could respond.. She blurted out another question… “Is it ok for a Mormon and a catholic to be married?” We all laughed at little at her bluntness and her mother looked at her with a very scolding face. We then explained that there is no problem with a marriage between the two religions, that there is no rule against it. We then changed the entire focus of the lesson… about the importance of being married. The mama didn’t say anything about wanting to get married, but this was the first time that we had an opportunity to see her face when we talked about it. I think she felt a little of the spirit because the way we explained the importance of marriage. This whole experience really boosted my testimony about fasting. When we fast we are showing the lord that we have strength over our bodies, that we can humble ourselves, and live through the pains of hunger. Really it is a blessing that we have this opportunity. It may not seem that way while we are in the process of fasting… but I know that the blessings are reality. When we pray with specific concerns, we receive specific solutions.
Thank you all for all the time that you spend praying and fasting for me.  I really am able to feel the strength of the Lord and I know that I can give a little of the credit to you at home. I miss you all but know that there is no other place that I should be.
Con amor   Elder Harris
Took picture for the life-size cutout of me for the Aubrei's Wedding