Monday, October 15, 2012

I Love My Savior,

            These last two years of my life I have spent in the great country of Peru. I had set aside my life back home to take on another, a more spiritual and uplifting life serving the Lord. I now know that I have made the most important and influencing decision in my entire life.  
            I have always marveled at the way the prophets in general conference talk about their missions and I thought to myself before my mission, “why?”  Now, I know why. There are no words that adequately describe how I feel now as I leave this country that I have grown to love. I have walked its streets and taught its people the marvelous plan of happiness. I personally have felt happiness like I have never felt before as I have helped the Peruvian people come to the knowledge of our Heavenly Father. I know that my father in heaven lives and blesses his children. That he is the God of yesterday, but also the God of today. He sanctifies us as we go about doing his work, and blesses us when we strive to do what is right. He never leaves us, he is always with us. I have learned that God is forgiving and patient with those that are not following the path of righteousness. He loves unconditionally and will always do everything that he can do to save us from sin. He sent his son.
            Christ paid with his own life, the price of justice, allowing mercy to enter in and save mankind. I know that Christ lives. I know that his divine affection is full of anticipation and hope for our return to him. He waits for us to return, he waits to hug each and every one of us and to tell us that he loves us. How great will be the day when we can tell him that we love him.  We  can show our love by keeping the commandments that he gave to us. Christ did so much for us, even he gave his own life, but what are we willing to give in exchange? Will we get up early on Sunday to go to church? Will we pay an honest tithing? Will we keep the law of chastity? Will we love one another unconditionally? My favorite scripture contains a question that Jesus presented unto the Nephites. The question is simple. Christ asked them ¨What type of man ought ye to be¨ and then in reply said ¨as I am¨. We must endeavor to be like Christ. I have learned this lesson on my mission that a man is nothing when he is not in the service of God and his fellow man. Christ never stopped being our Savior. In the darkest hour in Gethsemane he still said, though the pain was unbearable ¨ not my will, (but) thine be done¨ Oh that I could say these words when I am sad and have lost all hope. Our Savior came to this world with a heaven sent mission of peace. He sent me to Peru to continue the work that he began when he walked with us. What privilege I have had to serve as the messenger of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
            The Lord’s gospel is summed up in its simple beauty with five principles. It all begins with faith in Christ, then comes repentance, baptism by emersion, receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit, and enduring to the end. I have taught this gospel to hundreds of people and many have come to know the true meaning of happiness and joy as they too partook of the fruit. The gospel has become for me sweeter, and all that is sweet and whiter than all that is white. Though I will miss being in Peru, I know that I have done what the Lord asked me to do. I know that one day I will see these people again. It will be a day of tears and a day of great joy. Though may it be in this life or the next I wait for that day with much anticipation.
            I have thought about what I have really learned here on the mission and simply put, I have learned to have true faith in God. There is no other power in heaven or on earth that is more important than the priesthood. I have learned that we must cherish it and we must use it often to benefit our families. It is by this power that the family is not only a concept of earthly duration but an eternal blessing given to us from our father in heaven. I want to have an eternal family. I want each of us to always strive to keep the commandments so that one day we are all together in the kingdom of heaven. We can do it. We can keep the commandments. We will make it back to the presence of God. We will find the eternal peace we have long waited to have.

            I have a family here on earth… they are so good to me… I want to share my life with them for all eternity… families can be together forever…. through heavenly fathers plan… I always want to be with my own family… and the lord has shown me how I can… the lord has shown me how I can.

I love all of you, more than I can express in words.
Elder Jaren T. Harris

See you tomorrow!

Monday, October 8, 2012

I cannot let him down

Dear Mom and Dad,
 I want to thank you both for always helping me to feel like I had a great potential. I know that I am not the perfect son and that I have made my fair share of mistakes, but I have always felt the love and hope of my parents.

I really enjoyed conference  yesterday and the day before last. I felt inspired and spiritually uplifted as I listened to the special talks of our modern day prophet and his apostles. What great talks they all gave!
I really liked the talk that Elder Holland gave about Peter and the other apostles going fishing because they really didn’t know what to do after the death of Christ. It is moving to think that after all of the time that Peter was with the Lord on the earth that so easily he forgot his duty to him. I think that this is what I don’t want to happen to me. I know that after serving a two year mission it might become easy for me to slack off and let myself fall into the same old ways, but to what end would that serve me? The mission is similar to the time that Peter had with Jesus and I feel like I cannot fall into the same mistake that he made. Applying the doctrine of Jesus Christ is not just a 2 year deal, and afterward the world returns as if nothing had ever happened, as if I had never left at all. The Lord chose me to be here in this time in my life and I cannot let him down by not applying what I have learned in this short time.

Something that I did learn from the conference that I think is going to affect my life is that I gained a greater understanding of the gifts that God gives his children. I have been thinking about the gifts that the Lord has blessed me with and I have been thinking how I should apply these gifts for the benefit of my future. I think that the Lord has given me a sound mind and a strong body. I have been blessed with a lot of personality and a drive to do what is right.  I believe that I am intelligent (though some others might not think so, lol). I have been thinking about the future and I know that not everything is not always going to work out just perfectly but I do know that there is a lot of potential. I think that this will be a topic to discuss when I arrive, so keep your minds open to the possibilities.

I was thinking about how much time I have spent  on a plane in my entire mission. Basically the average time is about 48 hours; this is after summing up the time in my last three flights to get back home. Crazy to think that I have been in a plane for so much time already, when before my mission the only time that I can remember being on a plane is when I went to Vegas by myself.

Well this next week I am going to send a power house testimony so that you all at home can cry like dogs…. Well not that much but I will send my testimony.

Monday, October 1, 2012

15 days!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What’s up?
Can you guys believe that I will be in the house in 15 days!!!!!!!!!!!!! How nuts is that. I feel like it is just a dream, that someone is joking with me and any moment now the cameras are going to come out and say ¨GOT YA¨.
Good news… one of my best friends from the mission is now going to BYUI. I don’t know if you remember Elder Divis. I talked about him a really long time ago when I was in Jicamarca with the other Elder Vasquez and Elder Lucas. I got a letter from him and he is super happy. He is loving life because there are lots of good single ladies that want a return missionary husband. I am hoping that after a time I might be able to move in with him and I think Elder Emett too.
This week on the mission side of things was a little bit more difficult than normal. It looks like I am going to be ending my mission with four more baptizes on my very last Saturday in the mission. I hope that the people that we are preparing are going to get there because they all have great potential. One of the people that we are going to baptize is a single mom and her daughter that should have gotten baptized this month however she wasn’t able to pass the interview. So she has had to wait for some time so that she can prove that she really wants to go to church.  The other two baptisms are going to be a lot easier because they both really want to get baptized. One is a separated father that needed a lot of spiritual guidance. We are helping him.  He really likes it a lot. The other is a young guy whose name is Efrain. He had been coming to church for quite some time and I have always thought that he was a member of the church. I didn’t know that he wasn’t a member of the church. So we are starting to teach him, but he already knows everything,  so it is going to be really easy. I know that God has blessed us with these people in these last few days.  I hope that all is going to go well.
I will be sure to pray for the people that are sick right now. I think it is sad that a lot of people that I have known throughout my life are starting to get sick or have passed away. I guess this is another sign that I have been gone for two full years.  I know that this won’t really hit me until I have arrived home and I go to church that first Sunday.
I am excited however to meet up with Haleigh’s  ¨Oliver,¨ he will have to pass the test. Well I am sure that he has passed Dad’s test but he needs to pass my test too. Though I don’t know what that test is going to be.
The end is near, the finish line in sight… I have to take the last few steps.

We won the battle

Bueno todo bien en Sion

I guess I am coming to the point in my mission when it is just not enough to baptize little kids.  What I mean is that I love to baptize families more than I like to baptize kids. Baptizing a family is so much more gratifying. 

We had another baptism this week... which is super exciting. This family that we helped to get baptized was an extreme struggle. The same day of the baptism we called him early in the morning so that we could remind him and his wife. They told us that they wanted to talk…that always means that something bad is going to happen. So when we got there we were super scared that he had done something bad. Something along the lines of drinking or smoking because he had had a problem with addictions… but it was something a lot less bad but still difficult solution. Basically in the week he had traveled to another city called Trujillo.  While there he had talked to an Adventist friend. This ¨friend¨ of his talked him out of getting baptized. She filled him up with lies and stories about the church that aren’t true. He was extremely confused and sad that he had lost so much respect for the church. We started to show him scripture after scripture. We won the battle, don’t you worry.  We had to pull him out of the fiery depths of the underworld but we saved him. It just amazes me how fast Satan works against us, I have seen so many different ways that Satan tries to attack the family it is no wonder for me at all to think that he is truly the father of lies. 

Everything went as perfect as crunchy peanut butter and raspberry jam sandwiches. They showed up on time for the baptism. (That was a first in the history of my mission) We had the bishop baptize the wife and my companion baptized the father of the family. 

My companion is going home this week, which is super strange.  He is making me feel a little bit “trunkie”  but not all that much. I guess that I just have the fighter’s spirit and I can’t let myself get lazy. I have a goal to achieve I want to try to achieve.  I want to bring 80 souls to the waters of baptism in my mission.   I think that I might get pretty close but I still need to find more families. So pray for me that I might have the opportunity to find new families this week, so that I will be able to baptize this next month. Please be specific with God so that he gives a specific blessing. I will try hard to find new people this week to teach so that I can have a ton of success this last month of my mission.
Elder Harris (loves you)