Monday, August 29, 2016

Patience in our Trials

                                                                                                               August 29, 2016

Hola Familia! Como estan? I hope everyone is doing well, it was great reading all of your emails!
Last Tuesday, I arrived in Bolivia and we slept in a hotel in the city until about noon that day. Then we had papa johns pizza for lunch which was AMAZING and got to spend time with the mission president the rest of the day. It was wonderful to visit and spend some time at the mission home.
My first companion in the mission is Elder Sierra
Wednesday, we met our trainers and did some contacting. My first companion is Elder Sierra! He looks Latino, so I thought he wouldn't speak English, but it turns out he is from Florida, so we are all good. haha
He is pretty awesome! 
The city of Santa Cruz is built in rings, so there are about 9 rings in total (moves from the center out, you can look up a map if you want). Our area is in the 7th ring. Generally, it gets poorer as you move out. Our area is pretty third world but luckily we have a nice apartment to live in. It is pretty big and we have only seen 2 roaches and 1 lizard which apparently is like super lucky and our apartment is the nicest in the mission. We are moving on Tuesday to a smaller apartment, but we are going to keep this one super clean so I am looking forward to it.
As I said, our area is really third world. In some parts people live in apartments but pretty general there are just one or two room brick homes with tin roofs.

There are cows and chickens walking around everywhere and it has been a real reality check for me since I've been so sheltered.

Our beautiful Ward building

I'm still getting used to the cows
We either walk everywhere or take trufis here, which are vans with like 15 seats that have routes and are pretty cheap. One time on my first day, we were in a trufi and my companion said when we need to get off just say, "Pare por favor." We were at a stoplight and needed to get out so I asked him if I should say the same thing and he said yes. Anyway, we had been stopped at this stoplight for like a minute and a half and I just all of a sudden said, "stop please," in Spanish. Then after we just cracked up because of how stupid everyone must have thought I was. haha

Anyway, I love my area and it is exciting to be participating in this great work. They have had a lot of success in this area and we have a lot of people to teach.

Last night we were teaching the Familia Millares, who were baptized almost a year ago and are preparing to go to the temple. They have a lot of challenges as they prepare, so we taught about the principle of adversity, and how Satan tempts us the most right before we are about to do something great. For example, Joseph Smith was almost overcome by the devil before he had the first vision. If he had not persevered and asked God to deliver him, we wouldn't have the restored gospel her on earth. As I testified of this principle, I realized that I was teaching myself. This week has been very difficult and full of adversity. I'm having a hard time adjusting to the new culture and language, but I know that if I am obedient, have faith, and persevere, that the Lord will bless me to do His amazing work and help bring people to Christ. If I can work hard and persevere through small trials, for the next few weeks, I will be able to do so much good for the next two years. 

Please keep us in your prayers as we try to teach more lessons this week. I know that this is exactly where I am supposed to be!

I love you all and hope you have an amazing week!

Elder Harris


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