Tuesday, August 23, 2011

In the Hands of God

What a great week!
This week we had two baptisms. One is a man named Eder that I talked about before and the other is a girl named Yamilet. I think that I explained a little about her before but it won’t hurt to go into a little more detail. She is a story and a half. We have been teaching her for 3 months literally. It’s been really great because I have really been able to see her progress. We first met her was one day when we were just knocking on doors in the street. We began to teach her and she was accepting the gospel very quickly.  We were so excited because she grabbed her dad and they both showed up to church that first Sunday. We continued with the lessons and they showed up the next Sunday too. After that she got called to a job, she graduated and is a stay-in-house nurse.  Like one of those people that cares for old people until they pass away. Well she got called to that job and she couldn’t say no so she basically disappeared. We could only meet with her on Sundays at night when she was super tired. So the going was really hard. The teaching became super difficult because the lady that she was caring for was catholic. This lady would force Yamilet to say all of the catholic prayers and go to church with her in the wheel chair every single day. Yamilet grew to be very confused. She was always asking us questions about the Catholic Church and we had to show her all of the answers using the scriptures for her to begin to believe. Finally we arrived at a point of climax. One day she just told us that she quit, that she had had enough of that old lady and that she didn’t want to practice the memorized prayer anymore. That was a good start.  She began to pray again the right way and to read the scriptures. A few days later she came to us super excited.  She told us that she had received her answer and that she knew that gospel was true.  We excitedly challenged her to baptism and she accepted. At this point new problems began.  She told us that she wanted the consent of her parents to make herself feel good about being baptized into a different religion. Her Father, a super great man, accepted her choice and told her that if she felt like that was the right thing to do then do it. Her Mom on the other hand is one of those who believe ¨my parents were catholic, and their parents were catholic, and their parents parents were catholic people,¨ so needless to say her Mother couldn’t accept her choice. Yamilet became super bummed out. She didn’t want to go against her mom but she knew the gospel was true. So we fasted. All three of us fasted so that her Mom would feel good enough to accept her daughter´s choices.  Well three days later her mom had an accident. Ok, let me just say that I don’t know what to think about this… I think that it was in the hands of God or… I just don’t know, but she fell from the third story of her house all the way to the first.  She broke her knee.  She has been in her bed not moving for the last 5 days or so. Yamilet took this as an opportunity to get baptized. She was baptized and this is the pictures that I am sending you, Pretty crazy story right?
The other man that we taught is really awesome. His name is Eder. Super close to Elder and I started calling him that because I thought that that was his name… until he corrected me.  He is about 28 years old and is madly in love with his girl friend. They are going to get married in a year in the temple.  They are super excited that I will have the opportunity to go with them. That’s something that I didn’t know until now.  When your converts are able to go to the temple, if you are serving in Lima at the time, you have the opportunity to go with them. This story is a little less full of drama… We taught, He read, He prayed, got His answer, has a testimony, and BOOM IN THE AGUA.
A little bit of news from the Mission aspect. Well the next change is tomorrow. I will be receiving a new companion… named Elder Cisnado… and here is another shocker for you…      HE TOO IS FROM GUATEMALA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That makes 5 of my 5 companions Guatemalans. I am on a hot streak.
The thing with the packages. Yes, it is a super good idea that you keep sending them in giant zip lock bags because the box never shows up. It is always a different box but all of the stuff shows up without any problems.

Loving life and feeling great
Elder Optimus Prime                              A.K.A. Elder Harris

Friday, August 19, 2011

I Love being here in Peru

Well I can really say that I am super happy right now. I had a fantastic week, I spent a lot of time working and we are starting to see a lot of results. I am super happy that the family is  happy. How fun that we are going to get a Cafe Rio. I am super excited to eat there when I get back. It will be really nice because by the time I get back it won’t be one of the main attractions in Great Falls. Well I do have two things of news… I am just going to tell you straight up, I Love being here in Peru.  I realized that I just don’t take enough pictures and that I am always missing opportunities so… I have made it my personal goal to take nicer pictures. Second thing… the camera that I bought in Iquitos to be honest was one that was really cheap… and not very good. I felt really bad when I was taking those pictures in my suit coat because I couldn’t get a picture really awesome.  I went out looking today because we had a little bit of time and I bought a new camera. What I did was a type of trade. I trade in my old camera and paid a little bit more money and bought another. This was my birthday present to me. Just know that better pictures are coming.
  I received the package… I love all of you so much. I got it three days after my birthday. That’s ok though, because I was working really hard that day anyway. I got everything and the new memory card does work for my camera… so no problems there. The most surprising thing  was there was all that peanut butter (in the care package). Let me just say that I have been having this craving for peanut butter lately and to see all that deliciousness there, I just about started to cry tears of joy.  So thank you!!!!!! Another thing that I think was awesome was those sour dots… holy smokes those are really good. I was very excited for the new ties too, I really like the paisley tie.
Cool thing that happened this week.  Something that I don’t think that you aware of about South America or maybe you do … is that all of the movies and the video games are pirated here really early. We were walking through an open market when I saw a man selling videos.  There before my unexpecting eyes was a big TV screen and on the screen was Transformers 3. I want you all to know that I was tough… I could have spent two seconds and watched a little bit, but right there on the spot I knew that I had to 1.) Be firm in my deal with Dad and 2.) Be firm in my deal with God.  To be honest thoughts of the deal with Dad came first… Dad you know I love ya so stinking much and I respect you more than you can comprehend for keeping strong on our deal. You will always be ¨the man¨. (Dad made a deal not to go to the movies while Jaren served his two year mission)
The Spiritual Experience.
This week we had one of our baptismal dates fall. I was pretty sad… but herein lay the story. We have a wonderful lady named Silvia that we are teaching.  She loves her family.  She is a single mother of four daughters. Her daughters are 24,  20 and the other two are 7 and 2 years old. This sweet lady is of very humble birth.  She was born in the jungle in a little place outside of where I served in Iquitos. That was our starter point… my companion and I have both been to Iquitos and she knows that place very well. As we have been teaching her ,she has been doing everything that we tell her. We say read and she reads; we say pray and she practically falls to her knees right there and prays. She is super prepared for us.  She has one of the most powerful testimonies of the gospel that I have ever experienced in someone so new. She latched on to the gospel like ¨a fat man running to eat some cake¨. I love this woman, and her desires to help her family and to give to her children the way to return to our Heavenly father.  This week we entered her house and she was very upset, very sad. We began to talk to her and she explained to us that no matter how much she wanted she couldn’t be baptized. She really believes in the church… and she knows that to be baptized is to receive the true remission of your sins. She explained to us that for her to get baptized she needs to leave a lot of bad things that she has going on in her life. Namely this… She doesn’t work, so to pay for her house she depends upon the father of her littlest child. The foul man lives in another part of Lima with his other wife and kids. He uses her, as a means to escape his other family when he is upset with them. She tried to talk to him about this whole life style and he got all upset and told her that if she didn’t do what he wants when he comes to the house, he would stop paying for all her things. If he does that she won’t be able to pay for food and water and light for her kids. She is so sad… and what I have learned from her is one of the things that I will never forget. She told us that in this time of pure low and depression… she just needs to stop doing things her way and start depending on God.  The love that this woman possesses seriously is bar none the highest level of dedication I have ever seen. Instead of just giving up on this whole problem… she fights everyday day to keep all of the commandments so that God can give her thr relief that she seeks.
She is one of my Heroes.
Con Amor Elder Harris
1. A really big dog attacked me playfully in the street
2. On my birthday they smashed my face in my cake lol
3. A cool picture

Monday, August 8, 2011

Like the Talons of an Eagle

(Jaren’s Birthday is this Friday, August 12th)
Well I feel really strange that I am going to be this old. I feel like I really shouldn’t be this old, 20 years is a lot for me I guess.
 We had a fantastic week… we had the opportunity to baptize four kids that I really love. Their names are Kevin (13), Michael (12), Lucero (10), and Justin (8). They all belonged to an inactive member family that we reactivated and now they are all members… YAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  It was really hard teaching all of them because like I explained before I think sometimes It is really difficult to keep the attention of a bunch of little kids., but we got though it all without any problems.
One really fun side note is that when Justin (8) was ready to enter the water he got really, really scared. He just kept whispering to me that he didn’t know how to swim. I persuaded him to just enter the water.  He put one foot into the ICE cold water and said ¨ I don’t want to get baptized.¨ I laughed a little to myself and said to him that he was tough and that he could do it. He then grabbed my forearm and I lifted him into the fount. Shivering like someone strapped to a vibrating machine, and a vice grip to my arm like the talons of an eagle, I got him under the water. I pulled him up quickly and practically (with him in my arms) leap out of the frozen freezer water. I gave him a big huge hug and we both felt a little bit better.
I haven’t received the package yet, the reason being that my leaders have not been to the mission office so I don’t know if I will receive it before my birthday, maybe or maybe not.
I have some other news that is a little bit interesting. Today, by my count, is day 300. Which means that I almost have one full year here in Peru, how crazy is that? I cannot believe how quickly time flies. I feel like I gage time with the amount of occasions that I come back to this same internet and write to you guys.
We have four more baptisms planned and we are really excited for all of them. Let me introduce you to them.
This last Sunday we were in the church and he just showed up… we were so excited because he really liked being there.  We taught him that same day and he accepted the invitation to get baptized. How crazy cool is that?
Is a 40 year old mom that has three girls and lives solo. She is awesome.  She loves her family so much and wants all of them to go to the temple some day. She wants to get baptized real bad… but she wants to wait for her girls.
He is 28 years old and is madly in love with his return missionary girl friend. That should explain everything, but for real he has a very strong testimony of the gospel and likes to be in church.
Yamilet :
Is a young girl about 23 years old that we have been teaching for some time. She has been off and on because she has not received an answer to her prayers. Last night she called us up and BAM!!!!!! She wants to be baptized and all that jazz. She talked to a member and he helped her realize that the answers she had been receiving were specific to her and that she had already received them. She then noted her own emotions and found her answer. Later she got the permission of her super catholic mom and now she has a baptismal date!!!!!!!!!!!
Know that I love all of you and that I miss you and I pray for you.
Elder Harris

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

I Miss My Sisters!

Well, this week was a good week. We have been spending a lot of time with a family of less-actives and we came to find out that almost all of the kids that they have… haven’t been baptized. Next week we are going to have a baptism of four children. It has been really fun teaching them all because number one we have to teach really simple, and number two we have to teach really simple, and number three we have to really teach: I think you know what I mean. This has been a really rewarding opportunity because it has really helped me think about the basics of the gospel and has helped me to be more interesting as a teacher. Sometimes it’s really hard to hold the attention of the kids, but they are learning really well.  I know that they are all going to be ready for their baptisms this Saturday. I have been thinking a lot about Dad´s mission and how I really don’t know anything about it. I just know where he went and ….. Yah that’s it. I think that it would be really cool if you can send me something. I would really like to read about it.

We have been really focusing on the people that we are teaching right now and well it hasn’t been all that easy to help them understand the importance of the gospel. We spend of our time with our investigators teaching to what they need and this has really helped us understand the perfectness of the plan of salvation and the restoration of the gospel. I really like the way that sometimes I can enter a lesson and have no idea what I am going to say but leave the lesson feeling like the person has understood. One of the greatest privileges of being a missionary is the fact that we are so directed by the spirit.  I discover at times that I don’t know where the words are coming from just that it all makes sense. One of the experiences that have really marked my life was once when I was explaining the Atonement and the power that it holds for us in the final judgment. As I was explaining, I came to a conclusion that allowed the investigator to really understand why Jesus did what he did. I had no idea that I held the capacity to explain the Atonement the way I did… I realize that the spirit inspires us to say the un-say-able and do the un-do-able. The Lord uses his servants to harvest the vineyard; we need to humbly comply with his will, trusting in his wisdom and plan.

I have been thinking about Saydi and Haleigh and Aubrei. I realized that I have never been the perfect brother. I have never stood up for you like I should and I have spent more time making you all mad than happy. I humbly seek for you forgiveness. I really do love all of you. I am not just saying that. I would never change you for brothers… or for any other sisters. I understand that each one of us is a little different but without us kids in the family we aren’t the Harris that everyone knows. I want you Girls to continue family tradition of being great examples. The people that we meet in this life can change when they see the impossible in action.

The Easy: we already did it
The Hard: we get done like it´s easy
The Impossible: we might be a little late in finishing, but it gets done

I Love you all and I hope that you have happy birthday Saydi!

Con Amor, Elder Harris