Monday, January 8, 2018

Happy New Year!

                                                                                                           Jan. 1, 2018         
Happy New Year!!

It is 2018! It is crazy how fast the year flew by, I couldn't have asked for a better year and I am grateful to all of you for making it that way!

We have had a great week, lots of miracles and tender mercies.

Wednesday, I got to visit Guapilo on an exchange which was fun. I got to see lots of old friends and it turns out Sonia, the old lady we taught, feeds the missionaries lunch every day haha! We were able to visit a lot of people I had taught and it was a great intercambio!


One other miracle this week was Herlin! We were walking to an investigators house when Elder Matheson told me he saw a member family trimming their tree. So we headed back a few blocks, grabbed a machete and started helping.

We spent a good half an hour there and afterwards met Herlin, their son in law who is not a member of the church. Turns out the missionaries have never visited him but he is really interested and really open! On Saturday night he accepted a baptismal date and Sunday he attended church for the first time with his wife, who has been less active for years!!!!! It was a huge miracle and we are really excited for him.

 
 
 
 
 
 
Alan also went to church yesterday and this Saturday he will be baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! Yesterday, after church, he was talking with all the young adults. They have done an awesome job friendshipping him and helping him feel welcome! Pray that he can continue to progress and be ready for Saturday!

The work is great here, possibly my last week in Lucero so we will definitely make the best of it! I love this gospel and there is nothing better than being a missionary! Have a great week and a Happy New Year!

Elder Harris

Merry Christmas!!!!!

                                                                                                                       Dec. 25, 2017
Feliz Navidad a todos! Merry Christmas to all of you!

We had a great week, one of my favorite Christmas'es ever!!


I was so excited that my Christmas package arrived a little early, but I waited until Christmas to open it. Here I am opening my package Christmas morning... Thanks for the Christmas stockings filled with yummy candy, the socks, a watch, and much more.

A quick recap on our week...

On Monday, we had a white elephant gift exchange as a zone which was pretty funny and enjoyable.
After, we watched the movie, Polar Express. Elder Matheson and I baked chocolate chip cookies and snicker doodles (shout out to Bekah for the awesome recipe) and hot chocolate and we threw the cookies to people and ran in with the hot chocolate during the hot chocolate scene from the movie. It was really fun and made for a great P-day.

 
We also spent a good part of the week in the hospital.

On Friday we had our Christmas conference and dinner with President.
Decorating for the Christmas program with Ernesto
 
 As a zone, we did a short play about Christmas here in the Americas when they were going to put to death all the believers unless the sign came. I got to be the bad guy.

It was a great conference! I love President Rodriguez. He is an amazing man and I know he has been called of God!













Yesterday as a zone we went to a big Plaza. We spent a good bit of time the past few days wrapping up Books of Mormon and yesterday we gave them out to people in the Plaza! It was really cool to have people unwrap their gift and tell them why it was the best gift we could give them! Afterwards we sang Christmas hymns!

Last night we ate dinner with Olga and got to stay up until midnight (here everyone eats Christmas dinner at that time)


There were fireworks everywhere at midnight and today we both have stomach aches from eating so much food so late at night.

Oh as for the hospital, everything is okay haha. There was a missionary that got pretty sick so we  went to visit him and take him food. Gotcha mom!

We made these handmade Christmas stockings
I am really grateful for Christmas! There is no better time to remember the Savior of the World, who gave up His glory to come as a babe in the humblest of circumstances. He did all of it because He loves us.

Merry Christmas!

Elder Harris

Fernanda and Dulce's Baptisms

                                                                                                  Dec. 18, 2017
Hola Family,
 
The best part of this week was the baptisms of Fernanda and Dulce on Saturday!
 

Fernanda and Dulce were both baptized and their Dad was able to attend which was really cool.
 
 
There was great support from the Ward and a lot off their extended family was there too!
It is so cool to think that they are setting the example for the rest of the family.

 
   I know that one day their whole family will be converted because of their decision!
  

One of the young men we are working with, Kevin, went to church yesterday and had a great experience! He is excited to go next week and this week we are going to talk about baptism with him.
 
Alan couldn't go to church yesterday sadly, but he did accept a date for baptism and also a huge miracle is that a few weeks ago he found a Book of Mormon as he was cleaning out a storage area at his college. It is amazing how the Lord prepares people and it was a huge surprise when we taught about the Book of Mormon and he said "I have one of those!" So we will continue to work with him this week.
 
Franco and Raquel both brought friends to church yesterday which was really great to see!

Although we are working hard, we still take time to laugh and have fun.
Here are a few pictures to make you smile...
 
Did someone say cows? I herd that!
Mission Photo Competition - See American Gothic
 
Bishop Oliver and Marcy took us out to Papa Johns on Monday night. It was great to catch up with them!
We are excited for Christmas! Busy as ever, we are trying to never forget the reason we are celebrating.

This week we remember the birth of the Savior of the World. This child was born to bring us eternal life and to show us the way back. I am so grateful for our Savior Jesus Christ, who gave up celestial glory to be born in the humblest of mangers and cast out by mankind, all because of His love for us!

Merry Christmas!

Love,
 
Elder Harris
 

Monday, December 11, 2017

Happy Birthday Ernesto!

                                                                                                    Dec. 11, 2017
Hi Everyone!!!
 
As you can tell by the title, today is Ernesto's birthday and there is going to be a huge rager at our house tonight apparently. They have invited the Bishop and a few other older couples from the Ward, so it should be a good time. Ernesto was born 72 years ago today. Wow!

As for us, our week was great! Really exhausting, but Rachael told me once that you aren't a successful missionary until you get home and fall on your bed after walking in the door without even brushing your teeth. (Or something along those lines.) So I guess that means we are doing a good job.

We have found a lot of great new investigators this week. Lots of young men and the Ward members are helping us out a ton which has been great! Yesterday, we taught a 22 year old named Alan who has a college friend that is a member of the church. We don't know her, but she sent us the referral. We asked Alan what made him want to learn more about the church and he said that he saw something different in her, something he didn't see in his other classmates. As disciples of Christ we have a special light and people see that!!! As we live righteously they will want to know why we are different!

This week Ana will be baptized along with Dulce and Fernanda, two girls who attend church with their mom every week. It has been a miracle because their dad didn't want to let them be baptized a few weeks ago, but our prayers have been answered and his heart is being softened little by little.

We are excited for Christmas! Although I doesn't feel like Christmas at all with the weather being so warm here, but what are you gonna do. For the moment I can't think of anything else to say so that concludes this week's letter. Here are a few fun pictures from the week...
 
Here I am standing in the streets of Santa Cruz, two days after a rain storm.
 
Enjoying nature...
Making cookies with Olga

                                                                                    

I love you all and encourage you to keep being an example! When we are truly living the gospel, it will show on our face!











Love,
Elder Harris



Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Election Weekend

                                                                                                  Dec. 4, 2017
Dear Family,
 
As you probably already know, this weekend was the annual Judicial Elections in Bolivia! I hope everyone was aware, it is something quite special that happened and only happens once a year so if you missed it, your loss.
Elections here in Bolivia are quite different. You are not allowed to drive without permission from the government on election day and there are also can be no meetings with more than 2 people. If you visit people and try to sway their vote you are taken to jail immediately.

So for those of you who are acquainted with missionary work, that meant we were seriously limited in what we could do Saturday and Sunday. There was no church yesterday, so we spent most of the day at home eating Olga's delicious food! But we were allowed (according to President) to go to certain appointments.
Things have been great with my new companion, he is really Christ like and that has made it really easy to adapt! We get along great and have been brainstorming a lot for Christmas.
 
We have to present a sketch as a zone for the mission Christmas dinner so we are busy writing the script for that and also coordinating other activities.
Highlights of this week have been:
- Raquel is really excited about serving a mission (woot woot)
- Her sister Ana still wants to be baptized the 16th but didn't want to come out and listen the other day when we visited them so she might be having an identity crisis
- Ariel and Angie are doing good, we are working with them on the law of chastity but the desire to be baptized is there!
- This week summer vacation started for all the children and teenagers of Bolivia so we are teaching lots of young men who are really open to learning and several have accepted a baptismal date!
- Our investigator Lucio has a talking parrot (see pictures)
 

I am really excited for Christmas! There is no better time to share the gospel and help people remember why we are celebrating! I am so grateful for my knowledge of and relationship with our Savior Jesus Christ and it is something that everyone deserves to have! So my challenge for you all this week is to think of someone who could benefit from the knowledge that Jesus Christ came to earth to suffer and die so that they might live with Heavenly Father again!
 
Next week if you each send me the name of that person, we will talk about phase 2!
Love,
Elder Harris

Departures, Teary Eyes

                                                                                                     November 27, 2017
Hello Family,
 
Today we had transfers! I will miss Elder Sierra as he heads home after 2 great years of selfless service. This week was a sweet end to the transfer!
 
Saturday night Franco was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! He was really excited and it was special to watch his uncle baptize and confirm him! He was baptized along with three other converts in our district so it was a great baptismal service to witness. I will send pictures next week, my camera was not cooperating at the time.
We were blessed to be able to find a lot of great people to teach! Also last night when we went to visit Raquel her sister Ana told us she wants to get baptized so her baptism is scheduled for December 16th! We also found a really prepared couple, Ariel and Angie, on our exchanges this week. They both want to get baptized and aren't married yet, but they have a date for the December 23rd so please pray that they can get married and attend church next week! They couldn't go yesterday because Angie sprained her ankle which was a bummer.
My new companion is Elder Matheson from Cedar City, Utah, He is a really humble guy and a really talented musician so don't be surprised if next Monday I know how to play the violin. I am excited for another great transfer in Lucero, it is the best Ward  and the members do so much to move the work forward!
I hope everyone has had the chance to watch the Light the World video. There is no better time than Christmas to remember the Savior of the world and do our best to live as He did!
1 - Our zone activity Monday was a marshmallow gun capture the flag out in nature (how neat is that)
 
2 - Olga made an amazing goodbye lunch. (This was pretty much our Thanksgiving)
 
3 - The five of us that came together were finally reunited this week at Zone Conference!
 
4 - Elder Sierra and me with Oliver
                                        
5- Elder Sierra's final departure. He's got his bag of peanuts and he's ready to fly...
         

Love you all!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Hope of Israel

                                                                                                          Nov. 20, 2017
Hi Fam!
 
This week was great! They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, so I thought if I sent a lot of pictures this week, I could get away with a short email.
 
The best part of this week was Junior and Teresa´s baptism!




Their mom and cousins are members and their second cousin is Angie Ayabiri. (Hilary knows her!) So it is a small small world!!
They were super excited and really happy and we are trying to help them build good habits of reading and praying!
 
Franco will be baptized this Saturday and he is also really excited about it. (He kept pushing to be baptized last week, but his parents wanted it to be this weekend.) Yesterday, Junior and Teresa and Franco sat with us at church and I felt like we were foster parents haha it was pretty funny.

Here is a picture of the missionaries in our district at the top of a large tower.


A picture of the missionaries in our zone. "Zona La Pampa"
 
Lots of great experiences this week! I know Heavenly Father directs this work! He is at the helm and grants us his spirit to be instruments in His hands! There are so many incredible youth and children in this world that are His hope! I know they will also be instruments in His hands to bring about a great and marvelous work and build the kingdom of God! I am grateful to be a member of this church and share this message with the world!
 
Thanks for the love and support everyone!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Elder Harris