Monday, October 31, 2011

Victoria and Isidro… and Aldair

Hey family
What a great week. Well I am super happy that you have the package that I sent. Just a heads up that necklace is made from PURE SILVER. I was talking to a lady and she explained all of the different metals that they have in South America and there being more here than in the United States, it is a lot cheaper. The necklace is made from real silver of the highest quality… I was afraid that it would be too small for you to wear because it is not very big. But, I am glad that you like it. And it is always really cool to see you wearing it in your photo.
I didn’t even know that there was an earth quake until you told me… I didn’t feel anything
Well we had three baptisms this week. We baptized two older people that I love with all of the tenderness of my heart, and one really little that I also love to death. Their names are Victoria and Isidro… and Aldair. 

They are super fun. I explained a little about Victoria and Isidro, but just in case, they are brother and sister. They live together in the house of a member.  We have been teaching them for more than 4 weeks now and they finally got baptized. They both cannot read and write so it has been really challenging for them to understand the gospel. Yet the lord has blessed us with the challenge and we got there. I really loved teaching them because we had to teach them so slowly and simply. It forced me to teach the gospel in a new way so that they had the ability to understand. Many times we had to wait and teach something again so that they could understand the importance and not just memorize that we were saying.
Aldair was a lot easier be was simple and basic. The best part was that he was able to capture more of the lessons… he is only 9 years old. We taught him in a way more complicated than my two old people. Just imagine the irony of that. I don’t have very much time today so I am sorry if this isn’t very long but next week I will explain better their stories.
Tomorrow we are going to go to the temple so I will send you pretty pictures next week.  
Hey I love seeing the pictures and I have not gotten the package yet… because my leaders haven’t gone to get it yet, but don’t worry it will come. I love you all and I hope that you had a great birthday mom.
Elder Harris

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Mom’s million questions



FIRST OFF, well, hold up!!..on the sassy sauce, on that photo of Saydi… I think if she was any more man killer in that photo one of the Jonas Brothers is going to start asking her out on dates. 

YES, the million answers to Mom’s million questions:

How do you get around your area since it is so big? We do a ton of walking… but we also use a lot of bus. I think that we are going to ask for bikes here soon but I don’t know yet.

Do you knock on doors or do you clap your hands like in other South American countries? Well a lot of places have doors here but a lot don’t. I have developed some new talents here in Peru. One talent is I can now whistle in various forms. The people here whistle for everything and there are many different ways to whistle and different times to use a specific whistle. I will have to teach you all when I get home. Not a lot of clapping here just a lot more whistling.

How big is your area exactly? My area I would guess to be around 10 miles long with 500,000 to 600,000 people.

Are you presently teaching anyone? We are teaching some great people right now and I think that this next week we are going to have 4 baptisms.

How is your ward? The new ward that I am in is the stake building, so it is really big. There is a lot of people attending so I am pretty happy… I just hope that they start helping us out a little bit more.

Do you teach classes on Sundays? Well we teach classes sometimes in church but they are little bit more organized here and the missionaries do a lot less on Sundays.

We noticed you have been wearing your glasses in pictures a lot.. Why? I have been using my glasses because there is a lot of dust in the air and my eyes get really tired during the day. Also I like my glasses a lot which is unusual. But… Elder Harris is not the same yesterday, today, and forever, so I have changed.

Do you have someone who does your laundry or do you do your own? We have a lady that does our laundry. She is really nice and gets it all done on time.

How is your new pensionista? Does she cook anything special? My pensionista is nothing unusual. She cooks the same things that I have been eating my entire mission, which I know I don’t have to say, Chicken, Rice and Potatoes. I am so excited that you are sending me Tabasco sauce and Taco bell sauce; however, I am a little worried that my mouth cannot take that much fiery explosion, just kidding!

I don’t know, I just don’t have that much to say this week, sorry for the short letter.


Elder Harris

Monday, October 17, 2011

I became a parent before Aubrei!!!!!!

Hey family,
Well you didn’t say anything about the letter I sent last week maybe it was really bad and nobody like it.  Crap, I will have to send you a better one soon. Hey just while I am thinking about it I would like you to apply me for both Provo and Idaho in the future.

I feel like sometimes you must think that my life here on the mission is all flowers and unicorns, but to its not. I have been telling all of you about the great and marvelous things that happen here… all of the wonderful spiritual experiences. I have been thinking about it a lot lately and really I can make a comparison. Nephi wrote two different sets of plates one that was the actual history of his people and one that had all of the spiritual experiences that he had. Well I have exactly the same here… I tell you about all of the experiences that I am having through email and writing all of the things like, we visited this family today, we ate this today, and I almost got bit by a dog today, in my journal.  I would call this literally applying the scriptures in your life. I feel a little odd sometimes that I have a fan base. Hahahaha, that just seems silly for me to write (fan base). To be honest, I think you guys are lying to me just so I’ll write more and more every week. Well this week was really tough… we have been spending a ton a time running from mountain to mountain. Like I explained in a previous letter… the area that I am now in is the biggest in the entire mission.  It is massive, we have to use a bus to get from one place to another, and it’s so big and undeveloped there is no light in some places at night.

So in other words…Lima’s a city that is basically covered in SMOG all the time, at night doesn't have street lights and sometimes we can’t even see the moon. SOOOOO in other words, we literally walk in pure darkness. It is so dark we have a really hard time finding our way back. At night we have to find a major road… or sometimes we have to get on our hands and knees to climb down a mountain side.  This new area is a huge challenge. My last area the biggest obstacle was ¨finding time to teach all of the investigators¨ here in my new area its ¨find the houses that have lights and hope you can find your way back to the house after teaching¨.

My new companion is a really great guy. He teaches the gospel very well and has a great spirit about him the only problem is that he is a little impatient. I am only his second companion, so that makes me his ¨Step father¨. I cannot remember if I explained this once already but… your first companion in the mission is your ¨father¨ your second is your ¨step father¨ and the third is your ¨uncle¨ but not a lot of people use that. But if anyone is counting I became a parent before Aubrei!!!!!!

A cool spiritual experience… we climbed a huge mountain and when we were way up there we found a house knocked on the door and out came a really big lady. Her name is Delia and in that moment she beckoned us into her humble house almost without asking our names. Once inside we began to teach her about the gospel.  She was so happy to hear our message that she smiled brilliantly throughout the whole lesson. We got to the part about Joseph Smith and we explained the scripture in James 1:5. After reading the scripture with her, she exclaimed ¨Now I understand! The night before I was asking god to send me the truth, because I have been confused for so long, and look what he did!! He sent me two of his angels to give me the truth. Wow, God works really fast.  We laughed and explained to her that we had originally climbed the mountain to look for another investigator but they weren’t home. (This was unusually because it was a set appointment and they are always home). Upon finding ourselves without a plan we just wanted to knock on the door of house that was close by, and that’s when we met her. We have another appointment with her his week… I will keep you updated.   

Well I hope that everything goes really well with Haleigh´s project and that she gets a lot of dresses… but she needs to really be careful with the dresses that she gets from others… specifically the dresses that I like. (Those being the dresses that belong to the girl that I took to prom.) Speaking of her I sent her a letter ages ago and never got a response……………………………. Hmmmmmmmmm……………..

So what are you and dad up to? Are you excited for your birth day…? I am sending you something special. I hope it gets there before your birthday.  Did you get around to sending off the shoes… I love you.
I miss you, love you, and hope that all is well.
Elder Harris

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Thank You

Elder JJ Harris
I finally completed a marathon 26.2 miles in St. George this last weekend with your aunt Jill. It was very difficult at times especially the last 3 miles. My calves cramped up so bad that they locked and I had to crawl to a sidewalk nearby and hope they would relax. A gentleman in his 60s walked over to me and said “do you need help to the ambulance? It’s just up the street” I looked up at him and said “this close to the finish line, no way. Could you help me up” So I got up with help and had to walk the last 3 miles. Finished in 4:15 and many times in the last 6 miles or so I said to myself “I will never run a marathon again” – and at the most difficult times “Never run again”. But not an hour after finishing, I was already thinking about next year and how to improve my time!
At your year mark I know you’ll reflect on your first 12 months and look forward to the next 12 months. Remember after every baseball game we would review the game and make corrections for the next game.  It was my way of making sure Jaren was the best he could be, and you were GREAT! Remember to leave it all on the field or mission field. The last 12 months of your mission, now that you have control of the language, is all going to be ESPN highlights. You’re a great son, a great missionary, and a great person – so work extra hard and make the next 12 months the best in your life. Don’t walk to the ambulance when the finish line is so close – RUN THROUGH IT!
I love you! Dad

Holy Smokes DAD RAN A MARATHON!!!!
I think that you, Dad, have just given me one of the coolest stories ever. I think that I am going to use that story in many different ways so that I can help people accept the gospel. Thanks for sending all of those totally great pictures of the family. While I was looking at all of them I almost broke down, not to crying but definite sadness. That picture with Aubrei making that face while you guys are giving her a kiss is the best picture I have ever seen in my entire life. I love it and I want a copy bad. I think the family is so dang cute too. Holy smokes it was really nice to see all of the family there together in that big picture. I will be sure to make lots of invitations when I finally get married so that I can have a wedding that is half decent. I just want to tell Aubrei that she made a gloriously gorgeous bride. I am going to have to find an extremely good looking wife just so I can compete. I hope that everything goes well with them.
First off, I got changed…transferred.  I am now in a different part of Lima with a new companion. His name is Elder Vasquez and he is from Argentina. He’s really great.  I like him a lot. He looks like pure bread Lamanite. He is super funny and He works hard so we are having a lot of fun.  My new area is called JICAMARCA, my new barrio or ward is called Wiesse. We have the largest area in the entire mission… it is massive! We don’t know what to do with it all. We have to really think about where we are going to go, and when, and use our time very efficiently. I will send you pictures.
Elder Vasquez
Well I was thinking about what you have asked of me, to write a letter of Gratitude, and I like the idea a lot.
Dear Two Rivers Ward
I have found here in the mission that many of my trials can be solved by some of the principles that my home ward has taught me.  I just want to give thanks to a few people that I hold very dear to my heart.
Thank you Brother and Sister Belnap.  Thanks for teaching me all those years in Sunday school. I owe to you the majority of my scripture knowledge.
Thank you Brother and Sister Rowe for being great examples of love and determination.  When you became my pioneer parents on the Stake Pioneer trek without knowing me, you gave me unconditional love and acceptance.  I learned from that example and it allows me now to easily show love to others.
Thank you Bishop Jacobson and Sister Jacobson for your outstanding example of living the gospel with a cheerful heart.  Your examples help me on the days where I feel down.
Thank you President Lies and Sister Lies.  Your have show me the joy of service and the blessings that it brings to others and to ourselves, you have helped me on those days of shoveling sand and lifting rocks to always be ready to do more.
Thank you Brother and Sister Tingey for giving me that small spark of hope when I get the occasional letter from you. Sorry that I am not so good at finding time to write back.
Thank you Brother and Sister Vaughn for your friendship which showed me how to be a great friend, and showing me how through your example to care for others. I have had to use those skills many times.
Thank you Brother and Sister Carroll for giving me that little bit of push to always do things the Lords way. 
Thank you Brother and Sister Matthews… I first learned from you that not everything comes easy, that we have to work hard to receive blessings.
Thank you Brother and Sister Bailey (not the old ones the young ones) I just always knew that you both were shining examples of obedience and it has helped me to follow the rules.
Thank you Brother and Sister Kundis for raising your boys right and giving me a great friend to grow up with. 
Thank you Sister Buck… for your testimony of power, the conviction of your heart, sharing your testimony with me helps me to share my own testimony with more authority from God.
I know that there are a lot of other families that I have forgotten… please forgive me for not remembering. I have had two great influences in my life, my totally awesome parents and my ward family. I will never forget all of your love, dedication and patience.  I love you all so much and miss you.
Elder Harris
My new area!


General Conference!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
What a fantastic weekend. To be honest I love conference.
 Let me give you a new perspective. In the mission how many times a year do we celebrate Christmas? Answer: ONE TIME.  In the mission how times do we have conference? Answer: TWO TIMES. In the mission how many days do we celebrate Christmas a year. Answer: ONE Day. In the mission how many days do we spend watching conference in a year. Answer: FOUR Days. In the mission do we have to work on Christmas day? YES. In the mission do we have to work on conference day? NO! On Christmas day do we listen to the words of the prophets? MAYBE (if we want). On the four conference days do we listen to God´s modern prophets? YES!!!!  Do Missionaries have holidays? ……… CONFERENCE IS OUR HOLIDAY!!!!!!!!
Well I have learned a very valuable lesson while I was listening to conference. Almost all of the conference talks I felt were directed right at me.
I loved that the majority of the talks were about making the choice in our lives to follow the Lord. That really in the eyes of God there is no middle ground.
I also found it so interesting that there were a lot of talks about the Power that the Book of Mormon has as an instrument of God.
One of the most powerful topics in my opinion however was the talks about revelation, specifically one of the talks that was given by Barbara Thomas. I found myself so intently listening to her talk that it was not until afterwards I realized that I was sitting up straight on the edge of my seat and my backside was aching. One of the most inspiring things that she said was the rhetorical question… HAVE YE INQUIRED OF THE LORD? I find that for most of us to have that level of trust in our Lord, we need to show our humble similitude confiding in him our daily problems. One of the things that President Uchtdorf said about this was that the Lord always wants to hear about the small things in our lives and that by explaining these small things we grow closer to him. Thomas S. Monson also said that if he was not praying every day that he would be lost. I felt the impression to really focus harder on prayer with real intent and love… speaking to him that has given us this life. The Lord loves his people and is only waiting to help them return to him.
Another most insightful concept that I learned was from the talk that was given from Elder Bednar. What a fantastic talk about the Spirit of Elijah. I felt so inspired to do genealogy work that I felt like leaving the mission for a week and doing all of the baptisms for the dead that I can possible do in the temple here. I would like to share with you one of the most spiritual experiences that I have had on my mission. While I was listening to that talk, I am not saying that I had a vision, but in the simplest words I can use, that really is what happened. A thought came into my mind about my patriarchal blessing.  Without telling you a lot about it there are some parts that talk about genealogy work. While I was thinking and listening, I felt like I could see in my mind very clearly, I was at home with the girls… specifically Haleigh and Saydi. I, having had asked permission, left with them in the car to drive to Billings so that we could do baptisms for the dead together as brother and sisters. I could see us driving there and on the way listening reverently to church music and talking about my mission. We arrived and I could see the baptismal font… and the beauty of the temple. We were there for the most part of an hour doing baptisms where I had the opportunity to proxy baptize my own sisters. I was filled with more joy in my heart to JUST IMAGINE this moment, that I was overcome with elation, and a massive smile hit my face. I then in my notes wrote down in big letters- TAKE YOUR SISTERS TO THE TEMPLE!
I know that I still have one more year in the mission. I know that I am a long way from coming back, but I WILL take my sisters to the temple. I will make that vision a reality. I want that experience more than I want to play video games, watch movies, or listen to music. I know it is a long way off but this past year has flown by and I think just as fast, if not faster, I will be back.
Please prepare yourselves to go to the Temple and receive the joy that can only be found there.
Elder Harris
P.S. It was really fun to see all of those pictures you sent. Wow, you all are changing too much back there at home that I really don’t know who you all are. I am looking forward to seeing you all again and listening to all of your stories.

Mix Between a Pig Snorting and a Hiccup-ping Baby

Hello familia and amigos,
Wow tons of time since I last had the opportunity to talk with you. I think it was exactly one week ago. Maybe I am wrong. Well life here in the mission has been really a whole lot of the same. I think that is a good thing because it’s really spiritually up lifting.
Well about the shoes… just send them both at the same time if you can. I suppose that it would save you money anyway. All of the things that I get from Vanessa come without any problems. I am excited to get them… I really need them.
Well I found out some really interesting news. This next Tuesday… there is a really big chance that I will be going back to the jungle. It looks as though I might be going to a different part of the jungle. There are a lot of rumors going around but I guess we will see. This next week I will find out the specifics.
The other day we were walking in a big market center area and came across what I thought didn’t exist here. A movie theater!!! I had seen some different signs to movies and all the people that are young talk about that stuff… but here in front of my very eyes I could see so many things. I am super pumped to see a lot of stuff. I feel like coming home to all these movies is going to be like one of the really big gifts I get after my mission. Of course I am not really thinking about receiving gifts or all those movies that I am missing because I am doing better stuff right now… but I doesn’t hurt to get a little excited.
We had something cool happen this week. We have been teaching a family about the restoration.  They had a ton of questions about the plan of salvation. Well, we begin to teach about the plan of salvation and they liked it so much they we all starting laugh. I really don’t know what happened.  We were talking about Adam and Eve and how everything was really just a part of the plan that god had, and how Christ was sent to the earth so that we can receive this forgiveness for our sins. Somewhere in the middle of explaining these things the mom was so happy, because so many of her doubts were being resolved, she began to laugh. When she began to laugh it was like a chain reaction, I couldn’t help but laugh a little because her laugh was so silly. The only way that I can describe it was like a mix between a pig snorting and a hiccup-ping baby. We all had a really great time. They still have a problems coming to church because they have to work on Sundays but I think that the family is going to get baptized.
Well I ate something that I really liked this week. It’s called Papa Rellena. Basically it’s a mashed potato mix, which they put back into the form of a potato and then fill up with meat and onions. Then they deep fry it.  I AM IN LOVE. I think I have forgotten what it is like to eat really delicious food.  Sometimes I cannot even remember what the house looks like. I think I am getting old.  Speaking of feeling old, I am definitely my father’s son… if it comes to hairiness, and handsomeness that is….. hahahaha.
Well I am excited for next week to see if the lord wants me back in the jungle.