Monday, September 24, 2012

God testifies it to my soul

Well family, I guess the end is near.
I am getting closer and closer but still feel like it is so very long away. I guess we will all really start to feel the end after this next week because we will be in October.  

This week went really well because we had another baptism. We baptized the family of Victor and Elena Arias. They were such a fun family to teach. Brother Arias is one of those guys that doesn’t say very much but hears everything that everyone else is saying.  He knew from the first day that we found him that he was ready for the gospel. His wife had taken the lessons from the missionaries a really long time ago.  When he was finally ready, a lady in the ward gave us the reference and we went. That first lesson was awesome because he right there on the spot accepted to be baptized. The only down side however is that they were and are always working. He has to work almost every single day. It was a really big problem for them to go to church on Sundays. Yet after explaining a little bit about the importance of the day they began to change.
Then about a month later they were baptized.

There is no other joy greater than helping a family get ready to get baptized. The feeling is like pitching a no hitter, finishing a marathon, painting a master piece or cheering at the homecoming game. As I think more about it, those other things aren’t even as good because baptizing a family is even better. I know that the gospel is true every single time that I baptize people.   God testifies it to my soul. I feel closer to him and I know that he is happy with me. I am going to be sad that I will not have the opportunity after my mission to help people the same way as I have helped the Peruvians. The Lord however has called me here to teach me of what I must do for the rest of my life.  I think that preaching the gospel is not just a two year calling… but a standard of living, a model of life. As the prophets have said we must stand in higher places, I think that means we must rise above the fear, and doubts. We must be bold in our determination to help others receive the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I know this work is what He wants us to do.  So as Joseph Smith said, ¨shall we not go on in such a great cause.¨

I think that one of the greatest things that I have learned on my mission, to be honest, is the great appreciation that I have found for my own parents. There are many people here in Peru and I am sure in the world, which were not born of goodly parents. I have been so blessed as to have been gifted my parents. I have thought many times about the blessings of having been born into a family that already had the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am thankful that I have had parents that are active (and still are active) and spent the time to teach me the principles of the gospel. I hope that you both, Mom and Dad when you thinking about me, serving in the lord’s work, you can see this service as the fruits of raising me the right way. My success is your success; my baptisms, are your baptisms. Of course all these things belong to the Lord and he should always be accredited to him for he is God and he gives us all things that we stand in need of.
I love you all and miss you all.
                               See you soon

Monday, September 17, 2012

I don’t want to ¨play¨ prayer today

Well it looks like the world doesn’t wait for the return of the Peruvian missionary man.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY HALEIGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Who would have thought that Haleigh would be 18 years old when I come back from the mission? That she would be having boy toys and would be a senior in high school? I never thought that the day would come when most of us are no longer live in the house but that we are just getting too old.  I wonder sometime what it is going to be like to find my own eternal companion and then I remember ¨WOOOOOOHHH THERE, BUDDY!!!!! YOU’RE NOT READY FOR THAT KIND OF COMMITTMENT JUST YET!!!!!¨ I am proud of Haleigh and Saydi the both of them are toughing it out, holding down the fort back home.

This last week was stake conference in my stake here in Peru. Elder Uceda on of the 70s came to speak with us. He gave a fantastic talk. He talked about the importance of really being dedicated to doing the right thing at the right time. I thought that he was really speaking to the Peruvian people because sometimes I feel like they just don’t understand the importance of the gospel. He said something that really made me think. He made an interesting point. He began by sharing a story of his youth when he would play with his brothers and sisters. He told us that the game that they used to love to play was ¨Doctor¨. As he shared the story he laughed and joked about how his little sister always had the mysterious sickness and that he as the doctor needed to find the cure.  After sharing his story he began to become very serious and said that other people are playing another of kind of make believe but with the gospel. He said that some people ¨play¨ the gospel.  He said, today I will ¨play¨ tithing but tomorrow I don’t want to ¨play¨… that most people see the commandments as a game and less as a serious law of God. Well today I am not going to ¨play¨ the Sabbath day because I don’t feel like going to church, or I don’t want to ¨play¨ prayer today because I don’t feel like praying. He testified that these people will not live up to their divine potential and it will be much harder for them in the life to come. I know that what he said is true; if we don’t see the commandments of God as blessings, we will be unable to comprehend the importance of completing them.  

I feel like the world is at an end. Wow it stinks that I won’t be coming home until 7:06 PM. So my big question is what are we going to eat? I am sure that I am going to be dying of hunger after having eaten plane food all day long and all night. If the family wants to go, I am dying for a big delicious burrito in café Rios, but before we can go however I need to released as a missionary. Which reminds me where are we going to release me, in the church or in the house? Who all are going to be there? Do I have an interview with the stake president? Do I have an interview with the Bishop? Is my homecoming talk the same week that I come back? Where will I be sleeping in the house? Is Dad going to have to work the week I come home? Can I visit mom in the preschool one day? Can I go to CMR during the Spanish classes of Haleigh and Saydi and speak with the teacher in Spanish embarrassing them in any way possible? How long will Aubrei be with us? Can I drive the new car? When will we go to get my new drivers license? Can we go Snowboarding this winter? Should I show up in my glasses when I come home or in my contacts? Can Dad and I go and work out together, then afterward shoot hoops? Can I take mom out on a date so I can tell her about Peru?
I want an answer to each of these questions. LOL

I love you guys a ton

Elder Harris

Monday, September 10, 2012

the work goes on

Well the work goes on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on.
I feel weird because I am starting to find families that I won’t be able to see their baptisms.  I love the fact that I only have 4 weeks left after this week. I find it super remarkable that I have gotten this far and I still feel like I am only just leaving the MTC. I was thinking about what it is going to be like to step down off the plane and enter in that glass box that we have there in the Great falls airport. I was thinking how silly it would be if I just stood there in the other side of the glass for two or three minutes, gawking at you guys, so that you guys are held in suspense. I even thought about waiting until every other person on the plane gets off, so that I am the last person to disembark. I don’t know… I think that my heart will be pounding so hard that I probably will forget about doing a prank, and be more concerned about not having a heart attack.  

The work has been going well.  I think that I am going to have baptisms this last month of my mission. My new companion is very obedient and likes to work hard so we are getting along well. He is from Guatemala, so that makes him the fifth Guatemalan that I have been with in my mission. He is a convert to the church and was for the longest time the only member in his family. Later in his life when he was just about to go on a mission his mom and his sister were baptized in the church. His dad for a really long time was a pastor of another church but after getting a little bit older stopped teaching. From what my companion tells me he now is going to our church, but doesn’t want to get baptized just yet. Elder Vasquez wants to go back and baptize him when he gets home.  He is a fresh change from my last companion. I know that I didn’t get along with my last companion very well, but we did have a lot of success. I just am not the type of person to give up at the last minute. I feel like I signed up for two years so I should work for two years.

I did have a spiritual experience this week. We were teaching a new family, that we had just found, about the importance of going to church and the gospel in general. As we began to talk more and more the father of the family became excited. At the end of the lesson he explained to us that he had been going to the church in the jungle with his family, and that his sister-in-law is a member of the church there and the he wants to know more about the gospel. We then started to talk about the great blessing that the Lord has prepared for his family and that the way they could be more blessed is by getting baptized.  He accepted to get baptized right there on the spot. However he is going to have to go back to the jungle for 2 weeks and then he is going to return and he wants us to come back and teach him when his family is in Lima again. We were super happy for him and the choice that he is making, but I won’t be there to see the baptism.

This was the first time that it has really hit me that I am going to be coming home in a very short period of time. I know that I am always saying silly things in the letters that I write.  I was always joking about coming home, I never really thought that the day would come. Yet as we were talking to this man about the possibly of getting baptized with this family in October I couldn’t help but think that I will not even be in the same country. The lessons that I have learned here on my mission have been many but God never stops teaching me new ones. I have come to realize that for all of the complications, and difficulties that I have had on my mission, I have come to love Peru so much. Many times in my mind I have thought about what Dad said to me right before I left for the mission.  He said, ¨we will be crying when you leave and you will be crying when you return¨. He was right. I am starting to feel the weight of coming home from the mission more and more on my shoulders. There will be a lot to discuss when we get home but right now is not the time.  I need to stick it out till the end. I imagine that god wants me to learn what it must feel like when he loses his children. Maybe when they stop talking to him through prayer or when the time has just run out. I can imagine that God, right before the second coming, will feel the same that I am starting to feel now. That feeling of ¨well I did everything that I could¨ but now the time has come to go on with the rest of the plan.

There is only so much that I can do to make the world a better place. The rest they have to choose to change themselves. But no one said I can’t stop trying!

Elder Harris

Monday, September 3, 2012

42 days left

Well the end is nearer…

My companion is ending his mission today. I will now be receiving my new companion. 


This last month I am just going to have to put all of my effort in the work so that I can have a great last month of my mission. It is so hard to believe that I am already in the last month of my mission. I feel like I am just getting closer and closer to jumping off the slough box cliff again and this time, just like last time, I am a little bit timid and nervous. I guess that’s what I should feel. 

I guess I will be the first to admit that these last three months have been a little bit difficult. It hasn’t been difficult because I haven’t been having success, it is because I have had problems with my companion the entire time. I guess that’s just the way things go. I hope that my new companion will help me out a lot this last month. The companion that is going home right now at the end of our time together we finally were starting to get along. I guess there are sometimes in the mission when the lesson is hidden behind the leaves. I know that I have had the opportunity to teach and to help a lot of people out here in the mission, but I still know that the person that I have helped the most is well… Myself. 

Here begins the last 6 weeks of my mission…. I don’t know if anyone is counting but that means I have 1 month and a half… 42 days left, or in other words 1008 hours left, or in smaller still 60480 minutes or just for kicks 3628800 seconds. Ha, ha, ha no I am not “trunkie!!!!!!!”

I have to look at it like a big giant number so that I don’t start to slack off.  I need to work hard all the way to the last day. I feel like I am trying to give myself a pep talk, and to be honest ,it is working. I think writing to you all at home has given me a better understanding of patience and love for those that I miss the most.

I feel like my mind right now is scattered about like Easter eggs on Easter Sunday. I am having a hard time concentrating on what I am writing because I have a lot of things that I need to do today.
I missed your letter today I am sure that you all just had a rough day yesterday or something like that…. But don’t worry I know that you all love me. 

keep struggling and fighting

Elder Harris is getting a little bit “trunkie” but not enough to stop my rampage of victory!!!!!!!!!!
I will be honest the Lord loves hard workers. I just keep working and I know that the lord just keeps blessing us. We just lost a great family this last week. We had been teaching a family of 7 people. One of the biggest families that I have ever taught in my mission, and they all were preparing to get baptized. We had been teaching them for just about 2 months when they just started to go downhill. We were trying to rescue the problems but they basically decided that it wasn’t the time for them to become converted to the gospel and they asked us to leave.  I had been felling very upset because I had given to these people all of my heart. I loved going to the house and teaching this family but they decided to go on a different route and I couldn’t convince them to not go. Like I said, I had been feeling pretty down thinking why is it that the Lord wanted me to have this type of experience? What does the Lord want me to learn? I just kept going on my way this last week teaching people and making contacts and helping more people come to the gospel of Christ. Then yesterday the Lord answered my question! This Sunday before last I had been contacting and I had knocked on a door. It was a young guy that asked me about which of all the churches is the right one. I laughed a little.  I explained that we could teach him but he didn’t have any time then. So we asked for his name and his address and we decided to come back. Well the day that we planned to come back in the week he wasn’t there, this usually happens, so I thought nothing of it. We tried a few times in that week to go back and see if he was there. We found him on Friday. We decided that we were going to meet with his Dad and this mom and the rest of the family. Judging from the house I thought that it was going to be a very small family. Seriously the house was a total wreck. It was beaten down and almost without a door. The door was just barely hanging on the hinge, is what I mean. So any way this last Sunday we went to the house.  When we arrived there his father didn’t want to talk to us because he was busy.  I started to use my persuasion skills and I finally achieved getting into the house… he gave me 5 minutes.  
Here’s what happened: We started to teach him about the gospel of Jesus Christ, and everything started to change. As we began to explain to him what our message really was all about he began to ask questions.  He  began to like what we were teaching.  He invited his son to come in and then his wife and then his other daughter and then his other son and then HIS OTHER SON AND OTHER SON…………. Until we had a family of 10!!!!!!!!!!  They want to know more, the father of the family wants us to come back to teach the family and to teach specifically his kids. He said more than one time in the lesson ¨I feel like I have already heard this before,¨ ¨you are explaining what I had been thinking for years,¨ ¨where have you been,¨¨this is what i am looking for,¨ and much, much more.
The lesson is this: The Lord knows that we work hard and sacrifice for people, and he knows that sometimes the things that we teach leave our control when people choose to use their agency for evil. Yet in the greatest moments of sadness and doubt, if we just keep struggling and fighting with unwavering faith, the Lord will offer unto you blessings that are miracles. This is how miracles happen… look at what it says in Ether 12:12 and then tell me I’m wrong.  Just kidding, but it does provide some clear evidence that what I am saying is true.
We must always remember Mathew 7:7.  Ask and ye shall receive,  look and ye shall find,  knock and it shall be open unto you.
When we need some help from God, I feel like we are timid in asking what we want. We shouldn’t feel that way if we were asking for something that could help other people. I think that most of the time we feel bad because we are selfish and we only ask for ourselves.  The Lord blesses those that remember to serve other people and gives to them a pure happiness that lasts for more than this life time.
What am I looking forward to when I get home?    Serving my family and Serving God.
 Elder Harris