Monday, February 27, 2012

Devin’s Mission Call

My companion and I have been thinking a lot this week about what it really means to be missionary, and for me to read about Devin’s mission call , I realized, I now know why we talked about it so much this week. What better time in my life to testify to my cousin about the great work that the lord has called us to do.  If I can say one thing about missionary work is that it truly is inspiring. The many experiences that we have in this time of the mission prepare us for something much more difficult… the rest of our lives. I have often thought many times since I have left for my mission what if I had been called to another place… what if I had served in China like I had always wanted? What if I had served in the United States and had to battle with all of the temptations of the modern world? As I have pondered these questions I came to my personal conclusion. The conclusion being… the Lord knows us… a simple answer yet eternally significant. Devin has been called into a mission where he will find his greatest potential, if he is willing to show obedience and diligence before God. I am so happy for him… because he has been chosen to fulfill a mission that I know that I am not capable of doing. That’s why the Lord sent me to South America. I know that he will have great successes on his mission because from what I have heard is that those missions in Utah are some of the highest baptizing missions because there is a lot of help from the wards. I would also suppose that because he will be speaking Spanish that he will be talking with the humblest people in that part of Utah… meaning another source of success found in people that are prepared spiritually for the message of the Restoration. What a great opportunity and learning experience he is going to have.

Our true worth in this life is measured by our obedience and diligence in keeping the commandments of God. We know that they Lord does not give commandments that we cannot keep. Every commandment is a spiritual treasure that we could enjoy and appreciate. The power we hold to choose our daily actions gives us the means to show our love for God and his children. I know that this choice that Devin made was stimulated by the Holy Ghost and the mission call that he received was brought by that same member of the God Head to a prophet of this day. The Lord teaches us this lesson with love in Amos 3:7… ¨Porque no hará nada jehová el señor sin que revele sus secretos, a sus siervos los profetas.¨ I really don’t know very many scriptures in English any more. I have tons of scriptures memorized in Spanish but not in English, weird. Anyway felt like I need to say these things so that maybe if Devin reads this he will know that the Lord knows best and his thoughts are not our thoughts… and that this is very good because the Lord only thinks to bless us and to help us grow.

We had another baptism this week… a great kid named Edgar Felipe. What a power house. We found him living in the house of an active member. We began to teach him the gospel and now his greatest desire to serve a mission for the lord and to give back what the Lord has given to him. In reality is almost an orphan because his mom left when he was little and his dad lives in another place that he occasionally visits, but he doesn’t live with them. I know super crazy, but I have learned however that they lord does bless those that listen to the message of the gospel. He had a girl friend from another faith and she told him that he shouldn’t do it that it was right, he told her that he was set and that he knew it was true and then left his house to get away from her. Later that same day he got baptized. Yahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!! THE GOSPEL IS TRUE!!!!!!!!!!!

Con Amor
Elder Harris

Monday, February 20, 2012

One day I hope to be a loving husband

Another day in paradise!!!

My companion and I have been working super hard this week and we had another baptism.
Well everything is really great this week.  We have been having a lot of rain but not a ton just a little bit every day. This week was carnival here in Iquitos. I don’t remember if you guys remember but this last year I was here in Iquitos the exact same time. Which means this was my second Carnival. Carnival is a really big party with water and mud that everyone plays at the same time about 4:00 in the afternoon. It’s a lot of fun…. if you aren’t a missionary. We can’t play in the games that they play because we have to work 1 and 2 I don’t want my white shirts to get stained. I did have a lot of fun seeing other people take water balloons to the head and large mud clogs to the back and all other horrible water fight activities that you can think of. The little kids run around super dirty throwing water balloons at grandmas and grandpa and then the grandmas and grandpa fill water tubs and dump them on the little kids’ heads. I think if you guys saw all of the things happen, you would be shocked. It was kind of like pure chaos in the street… little kids crying and running and laughing, fully grown people throwing water balloons at passing motorcycles, and dancing around large poles that they erect for the day. They have a strange tradition here in Iquitos, well not just here but in all of Peru, they cut down a palm tree and then using the leaves they braid them in a way that after they can tie them down in a circle. Then they place lots of little goodies and Tupperware of food and other stuff like that and tie it to the tree. In the morning of Carnival they lift it up and then they dance around it all day long playing music and drinking. Then at night they bring it down… almost like a giant piñata, and all of the little kids and the moms and dads of the entire neighborhood try to get something from the tree. It’s really crazy because all of the adult are drunk and they are pushing and shoving, well in other wards there are lots of accidents.

We had another baptism this week. That was way fun. Her name is Melissa.  She is the daughter of a less active lady that just got reactivated and we baptized her daughter. It has been nice to teach her because she never really had any problem accepting the gospel. She had read a little of the book of Mormon and when her mom was receiving the lessons from the other missionaries she was always there to listen… just the missionaries never took advantage of the situation to talk to her and help her too. SO WE DID!!!

Well the cooking goes great. I have yet to get my package… but that’s ok no worries it will come when it comes. I think I haven’t gotten it yet because the office is a little bit slow in getting us packages here in the jungle, because they only come here once a month. I don’t know but I think that maybe I will get it in March. Ohhhhhh I have wanted to tell you this for ages but I keep forgetting but now I remembered. I GOT THE FAMOUS DAVES BBQ sauce. I ate it all up and I loved every spicy explosion that I made with it. I almost cryed when it first entered my mouth because my tongue almost couldn’t handle so much AMERICA in one bottle. THANKYOU, I love that you send me packages it makes me feel really loved from you guys at home, and I have loved everything that you have sent me…. But this was THE BEST THING OUT OF ALL. I loved cooking with it. We made burritos and sandwiches and eggs and really anything that I could eat it with. Thank you for being THE BEST.

Well this week I did learn a lot about what it means to be humble. I have been trying to apply the things that I have been learning here on my mission in my life so that I can someday come home as a better person. I think that what I learned this week about being humble is that the best way to show someone else that you care for them and that you want the best for them is to communicate it. Sometimes we let little flaws that we find in others add up and add up and we don’t say anything about it. Then when we finally explode a whole mess of dirty things come out. If we could just talk about the problems face to face dropping our pride, we can progress spiritually, and we can have a lasting relationship. Sometimes I feel like what I learn here between my companion and I are things that I need to apply with my future wife. I guess I am just thankful that I have been able to identify some of these learning experiences and that I have been able to find solutions. One day I hope to be a loving husband. I know that sounds really cheesy and fruity but I know that all things are possible with a little practice and a lot of help from God.



Saturday, February 18, 2012

Elder Harris likes eating rice!

Wow, I cannot believe that I have only 8 months left.
Today is a special day because every 13th I complete another month in the mission. Literally as of today I have 16 months in the mission. Wow, I am starting to feel a little old and cranky…. just kidding. Well I am happy that the family is doing better. Sorry mom about your cold and I am pretty sure you need to go into the doctor for your shoulder because I remember you having problems before I left. I think it is about time. I think it will be nice one day to have free health care for the entire family… it’s one of the reasons I want to be a doctor… so that I can have the family live in the same city and everyone can have free medicine.

Well a little bit about the mission right now. I am learning a valuable lesson… how to cook. In my zone we don’t have a single pensionista. Which I kind of like because it gives me a chance to cook what I want to cook and it helps me to learn how to make new things. I am pretty excited. I have made French toast, amulets, macaroni and cheese, and lots of other stuff…. We don’t have an oven all we have is an electric frying pan… like a skillet. I like using it because it is really easy. I can make pancakes and top roman, and warm up RICE, lol. Well it is official…. a giant day in the history of the World… Elder Harris likes eating rice! I know that we joked about it for years and years and years that I would go somewhere on my mission that the people only eat rice. To be honest, I thought that I had you guys when I got my call to South America, but the Lord works in mysterious ways. I have become very accustomed to eating rice in lots of different ways, plain, chifa, fried rice, with beans, with mashed potatoes, in soup, in chicken ( that was strange) with pig and chicken and cow, and in large sticky balls, and served like tiny pyramids. Rice mixed with onions and lemon juice, with hot sauce, mustard, ketchup, and with liver and heart, with fish, mixed with rancid creams and cocktails. Rice that is eaten with spaghetti noodles, and with lots of potato chunks and green boogers, and rice that we eat with small cut up pieces of cow intestines and raw carrots. Well just to be honest there are tons of different ways that we can eat rice, and I am starting to get really used to it, and well I got tired of eating it just about 15 months ago, hahahaha.

My room is really nice right now… the nicest room that I have had in my entire mission… sorry about the lack of pictures I just have been so busy this week getting so many different things done I haven’t taken a single new picture and I have been slacking on my journal. I need to make up about three 3 days!!!!!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! My room is the best part of my life right now…. I really consider it a refuge from the world. It was recently made so it still has that new stuff smell and it was made by US designs, so it is pretty much super awesome.
I have a favor to ask, I don’t know if you can help me with this but it would be super cool if I could have the email address of Carson… he sent me a letter recently that I just got like 3 months after he sent it. In the letter he told me that he wrote another letter months earlier…. I never got it. I think that it would be a whole lot easier if I could just write to him via email.  I will ask the president if I can have permission to write him. I can’t see why not. He´s Family!

A spiritual Experience this week… we flew back to Lima this week for another zone conference. Crazy right in the night we leave and the next day in the night we come back. I am starting to get used to using planes. I like traveling…. I kind of have a side dream to come back to Iquitos a month or two after I get back. But returning to the spiritual experience I was talking to Elder Bonilla this week because he too is a zone leader now… any way so we was telling me a little bit about Noe right now… that he is falling away from the church a little bit…. The best part of it all is that his sister Janeth is trying to pull him back. I just love that because she was a lot harder to baptize and now she is the stronger of the two. Elder Bonilla was telling me that Noe wants to study to be a bar tender, and that he personally called Noe to talk him out of it. I laughed when he told me that he could hear Janeth´s voice in his head yelling at Noe that he need to change, when before her baptism he was yelling at her to change, funny how things work out.
Elder Harris
Sorry for the lack of pictures I really do feel bad………..

We talked and talked and talked about Christ

Family Family Where are you!!!!!
Well we had another baptism this week of a 25 year old single mother. She is best friends with the lady that we baptized the week before. We began to teach her more and more as she listened in on our conversations with Bertha. Her name is Paola. At first it was really hard for her to understand the importance of the gospel. We struggled explaining it to her in a way that was simple enough for her to understand, and for her to get excited enough to do. We did finally get her to come to church… when she started to come with us there was a change in her character and she began to accept everything a whole lot easier. In reality it is a great blessing to have people in the church that are ready to fellowship our investigators. We have been focusing on this dilemma in our ward counsels and in our classes that we teach on Sundays. We need to have a ward that focuses on how to help an investigator stay in the church and not just come to church for one week. Paola really likes the church a lot now and she is going to all of the activities that we have and she loves being in the class with all of the young people that we have in my ward so…. She is happy.
I have been doing a lot of thinking in these last few days and I can say that I have learned a lot of really valuable lesson, a lot of really valuable concepts, that I hope and pray I can apply in my life. One of the biggest lessons that I am learning, because it is a process, is how to show love. I think that best way to show love to someone else is through service. I have talked to many people here in Peru, many less actives, many nonmembers that for their reasons and for their misplaced judgments fall away for the church or don’t accept its teachings.  This last week we were talking with a less active member that is a about 25 years old… about the reason for not going back to the church… he gave us a lot of different excuses and we really didn’t arrive at any certain conclusion. About half way through the lesson he had a knock on his door and in enter a very tall, very white person. What I mean to say is one of the very first Gringos that I have had the opportunity to talk to in my mission. She was a girl in her late 20s from Norway. As we began to talk to them both we thought to try to take advantage of the opportunity and explain the gospel… as we asked some basic question to get to know her and him…. We arrived at a startling conclusion. She blatantly told us that God doesn’t exist. My companion and I quickly realized why he wasn’t going to church. To explain what happened briefly we talked and talked and talked about Christ. We told her that he lives, that he loves us, and that he wants us to return. We asked her to pray to know if God existed, and she told us no.
Love is the glue that keeps us all together. I hope that when I come home from my mission that you all, at home, can identify a changed man. Someone with more determination, someone that just doesn’t act but thinks about the repercussions, someone that shows more love for those that love him. I realized in that lesson that we did everything in our power to show HIS love to that person, but it will always be in their hands to make a righteous decision. Likewise it will be in my hands to show a change, a spiritual and intellectual progression, when I come home this October. Know that I am resolute in my objective and firm in my vision. I will go and do the things that the Lord commands…. 
Fighting the good fight (kicking butt and taking names)