Sunday, August 21, 2016

Love is Spoken Here

                                                                                                                    August 12, 2016
Hola Familia!

Como están? It was great to hear from all of you last week, I hope you are all doing well and life has calmed down a little bit!

Next week is my last full week in the CCM, so things are starting to wind down here, which is sad but also exciting.

I will miss these great guys in my district! 

This week we almost had a pizza eating contest on Tuesday. If you have been reading my emails, you know that Tuesday night is Costco pizza night at the cafeteria, and there is a lot of hype about this around here. We decided on Monday that we were going to have a pizza eating contest against another district to see who could eat the most. As everyone knows, I am a little bit of a competitive person so I employed all my eating strategies to prepare for this. I ate a huge dinner Monday night and then ate really small for breakfast the next day. At lunch I drank about 6 glasses of water (which was probably really not healthy now that I think about it) and I was ready to go (in more ways than one). A couple hours before the competition things were getting really heated and a lot of people in our district didn´t want to do it, so we had to call the competition off, which was really disappointing. But I still ate 7 pieces that night and matched my record which was a huge accomplishment. If you work hard you truly can accomplish anything.

View of soccer fields from CCM
We also played kickball this week a few times which is a blast for some reason. I still don´t know the rules really well (which sounds sad but I promise it’s pretty complicated) so my team always gets mad at me. But everyone goes all out and it’s really fun to slide and steal and do all the other things that are frowned upon in CCM kickball.

We also play ultimate sometimes which has been really fun to stay in shape. We are at 7,000 feet in Mexico City so I am always really out of breath and sunburnt after we play, haha.

Another view of  soccer fields
I don´t have a whole lot to write about this week, and I can´t think of any funny stories at the moment, but I had a few really awesome experiences this week!

First of all, this past Saturday we started TRC, which is where we have the opportunity to teach volunteers who come from outside of the CCM to be taught. Most of the people who volunteer are already members of the church, but I was really nervous because we had never taught “Real people” before (just our teachers pretending to be investigators). Anyway, for this reason I was feeling really nervous beforehand and just had a lot of fears about how the lesson was going to go and if we were going to be able to understand and meet this person´s needs. As we were waiting to be assigned someone to teach, our teacher came up to us and told us that we would be teaching a man who was less active in the church. He told us this man was really less active and so we really needed to take this seriously. After hearing that, my fear grew tremendously and I started to feel a sense of personal responsibility for the reactivation of this man I had never even met.

We were directed into a room where a man named Zeniff was sitting, and I remember as I entered the room, I was filled with love for him. I felt how much Heavenly Father loved Zeniff and wanted him to return to the fold. As we sat down across from him and began teaching, I felt such great desires to help Zeniff and really was able to feel his Heavenly Father´s love for him. It was incredible. The next 20 minutes we taught with clarity and more power than ever before, and even though it was really difficult for us to understand him, we taught him that he can pray to His Heavenly Father, who will always understand him perfectly. At one point I totally forgot his name and I think I called him Neville, like from Harry Potter, haha, but I asked him to tell us his name again and it was all good after that. At the end of the lesson, the three of us knelt in prayer together, and it was one of the most powerful prayers I have been a part of in a long time.

This experience really taught me the truthfulness of a scripture in Moroni chapter 8: “Behold, I speak with boldness, having authority from God; and I fear not what man can do; for perfect love casteth out all fear.” I love this scripture and I know now more than ever that love is the most important component in this work. I still can´t really speak Spanish, I don´t know the doctrine as well as I should, and I am so full of imperfections and weaknesses, but I love the people of Bolivia, and that is what makes me allows me to teach. My call is the source of my authority, and my love is the source of my power. I know that if everything we do is motivated by sincere love for the people we teach, the mistakes we make won´t matter. One district during sacrament meeting this week sang the Children´s song “Love is spoken here”. This song is mostly about having love within families, but the last line says “And the things they teach are crystal clear, for love is spoken here.” I know that this is true. Obviously as missionaries we need to prepare and work hard to become the best teachers we can be, but if we love the people we teach, we will always teach with power and clarity.

Along with loving the people we teach, the most important thing we can do to become more effective teachers is to become more like Christ. On Sunday we had an awesome devotional from Elder David A Bednar on this topic. At the beginning of his talk, he said “What you are is more important than what you say”. He taught that the main difference between us and the Savior is that He turns outward when we would turn inward. It is natural for us to focus on ourselves and look for ways we can indulge ourselves, but the true way to become like Christ is to lose ourselves in the service of others. This is something I´ve really been working on this week, and I am still VERY far away from being someone who consistently turns outward, but I know that with faith in Christ and the power of His atonement, we can overcome any weakness that we want to.

Only a week and a half left here and I still have a lot to learn! With all the work we have done over the past four weeks it is easy to get complacent, but something I continually ask myself is “Am I doing what is expected of me, or am I doing what He expects of me, which is nothing but my best?” Becoming like Christ is a lifelong process, but we can always be a little more humble, a little more kind, and a lot more loving.

I hope you all have a great week! Thanks for your love and support!

Elder Harris

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