Monday, January 30, 2012

Speak With the Trumpet of God


Well what a super tough week…………..

We worked like mad men this week…and we did get a lot out of it, as in achievements.
We talk to a family this week that came to church. That was nice.  We spent a ton of time talking to them and helping them understand the importance of coming to church but the dad in the family is a little bit hard hearted. He wants more time to learn before he wants to accept a baptismal date. It stinks a little bit because the rest of his family is ready to move on. We have been working really hard in getting him ready so that he will accept to become baptized. The family is called the La Familia Guerra.  La Familia Guerra means the War family, not because it is a battle to teach them, but literally their last name is war. Funny how some things work out.

I have been doing a lot of studying this week about what it really means to have faith and the difference between faith, charity, and love. I have found a bunch of really neat connections between the three and I would like to share one of them with you. I have a new favorite scripture which can be found in the Book of Moroni 7:45 which is in the Book of Mormon.

45. And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

This Scripture gave me a big pick me up this week. I have been feeling a little bit more stressed than usually right now because I want the elders in our Zone to do really well.  It seems that the more of my soul I pour into the problem the worse they all seem to be getting. The overall problem that we face is laziness. It is a constant battle every single day to go out, work, find new people and teach them the gospel.  Then go out, work, and find new people and teach them the gospel. Then go out, work, find new people and teach them.  We have found that the missionaries just get bored of doing the same thing day after day without rest.  Many of my missionaries have lost the faith. Due to that loss of faith there is no determination to achieve more.

So I have been spending a lot of time thinking about what I could do to change the reality that we are facing. I have always been a little bit lazy myself.  I can remember countless times hearing from you at home that I just need to stop being lazy. I think that I can say that in those times when I was reprimanded, I summoned up a little bit more ¨Go Juice¨ and I tried to get it done. I have been analyzing that feeling.  I have come to the conclusion that the times when I really worked my hardest, was the times that I was working for another person. If I was trying to get something done, that the only person that benefited was me, it could always wait. What I mean is…. If I had to do something for me I procrastinated. 

I realize that as we serve others we feel the obligation to perform and to complete the task at hand.  My missionaries can’t see anymore, the real reason why we are here. I find it super interesting some times to note the real character of a person when they are under pressure. Some just sit down right there are on the ground and quit. Others try to get it done but only with a half way job and they call that good… saying ¨well I did my best¨. Sometimes our best isn’t good enough, but the Lord knows that we can always do better.  As I have pondered about the laziness I have come to realize that to justify my actions in the past I just used whatever excuse that I could come up with. Makes me sad to think about how naïve I really was. 

How do I change the attitude of my Zone? I thought about it a lot and I came to the conclusion that what really is happening is that we have lost our love for the work.  If we don’t get up and work every day with our all that we are, we show the world that we do not love the people that we teach. If we don’t look for new people every day we are saying that our love is only for an exclusive number of people.  The greatest lesson that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has taught us is to love our God and love our Neighbor.  If we cannot seem to follow this basic command how can we teach others to do the same.  YET THERE IS HOPE… I have the faith to continue onward, if I can do it, they can do it. The Lord leads by example and I hope to do the same. The greatest examples of missionaries that we have are in the Book of Mormon, leaders like Ammon and Alma and 3rd Nephi and 3rd Lehi (wow, who is that? Another day I will explain) I hope to remind them of these great leaders, through the scriptures, that they have left us and then show them through example how to achieve all of our goals. Oh, but if I were an angel…..                 So that I could go and speak with the trumpet of God …. Alma 29:1

 Elder Harris 15 months!.. And it’s going by really fast.

Monday, January 23, 2012


Three Baptisms!!!!
What a fun week.
Here in Iquitos the missionaries are like walking celebrities, most of the time we are the ones that are running the wards. For examples; if someone wants to have a blessing to get better, or wants their child to get baptized, or they don’t know how to give someone the gift of the spirit. WHO YA GONNA CALL…… LOS MISIONEROS!!!
We have been doing a lot of things this week to bring up the activeness of the ward. Yes, anyway we have been doing a lot of work trying to get one of my wards to get active again. They have not been doing so well, but we have seen some large achievements and improvements. We have been having a ton of activities and trainings with the members of the ward. We have spent these last two weeks going to the church every night so that we can train/teach the members how to invite someone to read the Book of Mormon.  We also have been training them about how to do home teaching.  This week we had a great meeting in the church on Sunday.  After church was over we had all of the members that came hit the streets with us.  We went and visited a bunch of less active members.  We had some of them promise us that they would come back to church.
Well this week we had the opportunity to baptized 3 people. I will write about Danilo first. You will see him in the photo of just him and me– solos.  Mauro is the man that is a super old gentleman.  Bertha  is the only lady. It was really fun to teach all of them.
Danilo is a very lonely man that needed the gospel more than he can even imagine. One day we were just walking on the street, finding people to teach, and we contacted him. What a great experience, he accepted to be baptized the very first moment that we met him… two weeks later (BAM) we went straight to the water.
Mauro is the exact same story just in a different place. We just found him talking to different people on the street and then after teaching him a little bit of the gospel he accepted to be baptized.
Bertha she is the best one of them all. Bertha is a single mom of 7 children. None of her kids live with her now.  She lives by herself. We received her name from a friend of hers. After setting up a time to meet with her we found out that she had been looking for a very long time for the true church of God. We explained to her the message of the restoration of the gospel and what happens?  She accepts to be baptized. YAHHHHHHH!!!
These three people were prepared by the lord to receive the message that we have to give.   I almost feel like I didn’t have to do anything to convince them of the truthfulness of the gospel. They came prepackaged with gift wrapping.
The work of a Zone leader is really hard.  I have been spending a ton of time thinking about how I can help the zone to be better. I have found that the best way to teach someone any principle is showing by example. I think that this is one of the biggest lessons that I have learned on my mission. HE, who has taught us the most in this life, never said ¨THIS IS WHAT you should do and this is the only way. Listen to me and I am the only one.¨ Our Savior leads us down the right path by his example of love and charity. He even said ¨be perfect like my father and I are perfect.¨ I think that this is one of the lessons that if I righteously apply for the rest of my life others with have the opportunity to grow and will find their inner potential. Now that I think about it, I really do understand the phrase ¨Lead by example¨. I am striving to be my best so that others will receive the strength to carry on.
Sorry that the 49s lost this week. It is super cool that you all have matching 49 gear. I really like all of the red.  Thank you for sending all of the pictures of the house…I like seeing the big screen. Lol
Sorry Mom if I gave you the wrong impression about not writing me last week… I hope you don’t feel bad. I was more worried that something had happened in the family. I know that sometimes it will be very hard to write all of the weeks of my mission, but thank you so much, Mom, for all of the dedication and love that you send every single week.  What would I do without you?
Con amor,
Elder Harris

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Hey Family, WHATS UP?!
Hey, I don’t know what happened this week but I didn’t get anything. I hope that everyone is ok and that no one is hurt. I am a little bit worried. Mom you have always been super consistent with all of the emails that you send me. (It was Martin Luther King Day, Mom thought she had plenty of time to write but Elder Harris sent his letter before 8:30 in the morning and missed hers.)
My week has been totally crazy. We have been teaching a lot of really great people that have a lot of different needs.
One of the highlights of the week was teaching a man named Mauro… he is about 55 years old. What a stud. The first day that we met him we were on splits. My companion found him just walking in the street. He invited him to come to church and to listen to our message. Now he is getting baptized this next week.  Cool beans. He loves to talk about the gospel.  He sits and listens.  Then he asks every question that you can think of.  We respond and teach.  Then we just sit and listen to him talk to us. He has had so many experiences. He has lived in Iquitos his whole life and he is a river rat. He lives right on the river.  Even as a 55 year old man he goes out and swims. He is as tough as nails.  He is a living testament of the Word of Wisdom. He doesn’t drink, he does not smoke, and he eats pure rice, fruit and vegetables. In other words the man is A MIRACLE. He is one of the first people that I have met here in Iquitos that doesn’t break the word of wisdom. Dang, fetch, oh my heck, what the holy scrub!!!
Well I did have to do something heart breaking & sad this week. One of the missionaries that was in my zone has been breaking a lot of the rules.  He hasn’t been telling anyone about it of course. Well his companion gave him up this week. We, in secret, went to his house when they weren’t there, and found all of the contraband items that he had. We had to call the president. He was emergency transferred. I am very happy that I have always been doing my best to keep the rules. The consequences can be very devastating to not only you but also to others.
This last Monday we went to Quistacocha.   (Change of subject) I want to start to talk about something happier. We got to see a really big snake… I took a picture with her.  We took a bunch of other really cool pictures. I hope that you like them. Quistacocha is a zoo that they have here. I explained it to you everyone about 8 months ago but anyway it’s really open. All of the animals you can basically touch. I think you may be able to see that from the videos that I sent a really long time ago.  The place is really cool. Well I took some new pictures of the place so that you  could have a super sweet picture to put on the blog.   
Well I am convinced that I have been blessed by the Lord. I have been thinking about my mission.  I have come to realize something very interesting. When I first arrived here in Peru I was dying of heat in Lima because we were just moving into summer. Then I got transferred so that I had the opportunity to pass most of the summer (or rainy season) in the jungle. Right as the summer season was ending in the jungle they sent me back to Lima so that I could hit the winter season there. Now that the winter season has died away in Lima…I was sent back to the Jungle during the summer or the time in the jungle when it is less hot. HMMMMMMM I think that the Lord knows that I do not work well when there is a ton of heat!!! THANKYOU GOD.. YOU ARE THE MAN!!!!
I Hope that everything is all good and that everyone is happy.
Love Elder Harris

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


What is a happening to me!!!!!!!!!!!

Well what a super crazy week… we had this week something called the ZONE COUNSEL. In the middle of the week on Tuesday.  I got back on the plane and flew back to Lima with my companion. WOW and when we were there we had a meeting with all of the Zone leaders in the entire mission. We stayed overnight in the house of one of the Zone leaders in Lima and in the morning on Wednesday we had our big meeting. It was really hard, right now in the mission we are struggling with what is called el conformismo, or in English conforming to mediocre. The general thought process is that if you can get one baptism or two baptisms in one month then that is enough… you did your work. The President wants us to work with a righteous ambition, and not just be satisfied with the minimal. Haven’t I heard the same story my whole life. We are now going to strive to teach our Zones what it really means to have the heart of a missionary and work with all our heart, might, mind and strength.  One of the best parts of the reunion is that the president called up chili’s and bought tacos for all of us. YAH!!!!!!!!!! Tacos!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I almost died because it was like a flavor EXPLOSION! My tongue has been so used to the RICE RAMPAGE that as I ate the GLORIOUS SWEET CHILI TACO SAUSE, I felt like I jumped to a different planet. So in other words…. I REALLY REALLY WANT TO GO TO CAFÉ RIOS. I think that it is winning right now in the food that I want to eat when I get back.
Cool story however this last change Elder Bonilla (my favorite companion) also was made Zone Leader. So for the first time after 8 months I got to see him. It is super cool we talked and talked about all of the crazy stuff that has been happening and how we never thought we would be zone leaders and how much we miss being in Mariscal Caceres, we just had a great time. Then on Wednesday night we flew back to Lima it was raining pretty dang hard when we showed up, but I really like the rain.  
So I think we have lots of work that needs to be done here in the field we just need to start to make our missionaries more excited to get it all done. Really, to be honest, I am excited because I am starting to understand my companion a little bit more, and I am starting to like him. Just like you said mom I think there is a key to every person, a key to making them happy, and I’m pretty good at helping da peoples with their duties. (Say this with Nacho Libre accent)lol
Well I would like to finish my generals at BYUI and then go and make a transfer to PROVO.   I was also thinking a lot about what I want to become and ladies and gentlemen…………… I have come to the conclusion………… I am going to dedicate my time and studies to become a DOCTOR. I have decided that I really want to push myself to the limits doing something that I think will be very rewarding.  I know that I have the potential to do it so I want to really live up to that potential. I think that on the other side of this same equation it will be difficult for my family in the beginning but it will be a great way to set them all up with everything that they need in the end.  The decision of what kind of doctor I want to become had yet to be made up the path is now in sight and the goals are beginning to form.
Next week I will send some really great pictures of animals and stuff like that. 

Monday, January 2, 2012

Yet Another Challenge!

Well good news and bad news!
I can’t believe what has happened to me. I found out this last Monday after I sent off the letter to you that I had a change.
Well drum roll………….. IQUITOS!!!!
And crazier still is that the Lord has given me yet another challenge! I am now a Zone Leader. I feel a little strange but I have super strong desires to have a zone that is really good. I am a little upset however with my companion.  The Lord has placed me with a really frustrating companion. I just don’t know what I should do with him.  I guess that over time we are going to have to start to like each other but he is one of those guys that just thinks he is all that and a bag of potato chips. I think that the Lord is trying to teach me a lesson. The Lord gave to me, Elder Lucas, the most humble and hardworking man I have had yet on my mission, now he sends me with Elder Villegas. Hmmmm I think I am going to have a ton a problems. l I have been sent to the same zone that I was in when I was in Iquitos the last time, just now in a different area. My new area is called 28 de Julio and Castañas. I am going to have to work super hard because the majority of the people here just don’t come to church and or they just don’t care. AHHHHHHHHHH!!! Dang it!! Well I think that my next few months are going to be the hardest in my entire life.  I am pretty sure that you are going to get really sick of hearing about the same old sad and stressed out Elder Harris so…. I have decided that I am just going to write to you about all of the happy things that are happening.
So a happy thing that happened… I got to do a work visit in my old area this week. I helped the two missionaries in my zone that are in that area go and find a few of my old investigators. Hopefully that knowledge will help them to find new people to baptize. I am really looking forward to finding a few of my old converts that are there, so that I can see how they are all doing.  I kind of see this as a rare opportunity to help those people again to understand the importance of the gospel. I did find one of my converts this week whose name is Jhyner. He is doing really good, but has gotten a little bit lazy in the last 8 months. I want to try to help him to get back to church and get preparing for a mission. He was pretty excited to go on a mission before I left but he is getting a little bit sluggish with this determination. I think that is because he is the only person in his family that is a member.  So we need to help him to get back on the right track again. I feel really strange because a lot of my companions are ending their missions. I am starting to feel a little sad, I feel like my mission is flying by and I don’t want one single second to be wasted.  Well I am happy to be here in the jungle again. I like the food here a lot. It’s kind of fun to eat all of the fruit again. We have been eating a lot of a fruit called Camu Camu. It’s like pure pink lemonade and it’s really good. It looks just like a grape but it is pink, and is really sour. You have to add a lot of sugar so that it tastes really good. Don’t worry Mom I am brushing my teeth like a pro. I will be sending some great pictures for this next week. I have been working really hard and I haven’t had the chance to take any jungle picture yet. Here are some old ones from past areas.
Amor,   Elder Harris



Well I hope that everyone had a fantastic Christmas!
I had a great time hearing from all of you. (Jaren had the opportunity to call home for Christmas) It was fun to hear that everything going on is really great there.  
Let’s just talk about the hospital experience I had with my companion for a second. So this last Monday, December 19th, is when we decided that enough was enough.  We went into the doctor for my companion. When we arrived there it was totally packed. This was the first time in my entire mission up to this point that I have seen so many gringos in the same place. The hospital is a US hospital basically. I am sure that you can assume that things there aren’t exactly the same but it was pretty dang sweet. We had to keep going back to the hospital for exams during the week.  Wednesday night we slept in the hospital and then at 8:00 in the morning on Thursday my companion had his operation. It was pretty strange for me because almost the entire time I was by myself. I was sitting by myself in the surgery lobby when the Mission President and his wife showed up. They came in pretty stressed out I think. They had been looking for where Elder Lucas was being operated on.  Quickly we were laughing and just relaxing while we waited. After about a few minutes Sister Blunck asked me if I had eaten.   I told her no because I hadn’t.  The President then took me to the cafeteria. WE ATE PANCAKES TOGETHER!!! It was really cool because we just talked and talked. He asked me how everything was in life.  He asked how my family (you guys) is, and we talked about what we can do to be a better mission. I really feel like I was privileged to talk with the president for so long.  After we ate we came back to the waiting room and there was Sister Blunck waiting for us. She was writing in her journal and she had just finished when we came in. Then I played a question and answer game with her. She was asking me questions about my home, about all of my family at home, what I want to be, what I am studying, what I like to do, and everything about me. Just when that was all winding down, my companion came out. I stayed with him in the room the whole rest of the day. The President and his wife were with us for just about an hour or two more and then they had to go. The strangest part of it all was that the president gave me permission to go and eat when I wanted to and go where I wanted to by myself. I mostly stayed in the room but when I got hungry I just went to the cafeteria.  We were there in the hospital all day on Thursday and we slept there again. On Friday the doctor came in the morning and told us that we could leave. We waited another hour and thinking that we could go we started to make preparations. We had to go and check out, but they wouldn’t let us go yet because the insurance company hadn’t checked in yet. We went back to the room and we waited there, and we waited and we waited and we waited. Until around 5:30 in the evening. We were finally let go. I guess there had been a battle between the insurance company and the hospital. The hospital used things in the operation that the insurance company didn’t think was necessary so they didn’t want to pay for it. What ended up happening is the president had to make a few phone calls and after a few hours it all worked out.  We then went to the president’s house. When we were there the president’s wife cooked us up homemade AMERICAN STYLE HAMBURGERS. I just about died!!!.... After every bite!!!! She had all of the condiments including mustard, and barbeque sauce. MMMMMMMMM!!!!! Then we watched a movie together about President Hinckley. We studied scriptures together … AWESOME!! And then we went to bed. The next morning we got up, we got changed and what did we eat? BLUE BERRY PANCAKES!!!! This is one of the moments when I literally thought that I had died and gone to heaven. We had cheesy eggs and we had HASH BROWNS. I wish I could just go back in time and eat that same food every single day for the rest of my life. After that we came back to area or in other words…Rice and potatoes and chicken.
I had a good time this Christmas but just like last year it is just not the same. I am looking forward to spending all future Christmases with my family because that’s where the real magic of Christmas is. Thanks for another great call and thanks for all of the laughs.
Amor,   Elder Harris