Monday, September 19, 2016

Teaching by the Spirit

                                                                                                             Sept. 19, 2016

Hola Family!

First of all, thanks for all your emails and updates on life! I enjoy reading and hearing from everyone and I'm sorry my responses are so underwhelming all the time, but an hour and a half is not long enough! So a lot has happened this week.

On Wednesday, I had my first intercambio (missionary exchange) with Elder Puitiza.
He is from Peru, has been out 5 months, and is a really great Elder.

In my area we only ride around in vans and buses, but in his area all they ride is motorcycle taxis, so we got to ride on a motorcycle which was pretty sweet!
Anyway, he was baptized three years ago and worked for a year to come out on a mission. He is such a Christ-like Elder and I had a really great time working with him!
Quick story:
At the beginning of one of our lessons this week an Hermana brought out a full Sprite bottle and I said, "Esto es mi favorito, or this is my favorite!" To which she then responded--Agua???
I realized that the bottle was full of water and not Sprite and we all cracked up. haha  It was funny, but a little embarassing.

Elder Sierra has been pretty sick this weekend so unfortunately we weren´t able to do much the past two days. We had to miss church which was a bummer, but I also had A LOT of time to study and read so I have learned a lot this weekend haha. All the studying I did without any teaching was just a reminder to me that if we don´t act on what we learn from the scriptures, they are just words on paper. The important part is going and doing! Anyway, he is feeling better now so we are excited to have a whole new week to work hard and improve. 
This week we stopped by Paul's house to set up an appointment and he told us he wasn't going to meet with us anymore. It was pretty disappointing, but he is still a really good guy and I enjoyed the opportunity we had to teach him!
Emmanuel is progressing really well and will probably be baptized either this week or next. We invited him to download the app and listen to the Book of Mormon on his phone, so hopefully he can start doing that!
Claudia and Ximena are also both doing well! Claudia is 23 and Ximena is 19 by the way. Their older sister and her husband are less active but they accompany us during the lessons and are really nice. They both told us this week that the Book of Mormon helps them feel clean, and Ximena said that after reading she feels like she has talked to someone. The Book of Mormon is powerful and we are seeing such a difference in our teaching as we focus on the Book of Mormon as the key source for conversion! Ximena came to church yesterday and is on track to be baptized the first of October.
This week I had the most amazing and powerful experience of my mission so far. On Thursday we were teaching Familia Suarez, an older couple with 3 children. They have been meeting with the missionaries for months and have accepted everything we have taught, but they aren´t married which is the only thing keeping them from baptism. As we were following up on their plans to be married at the beginning of the lesson, Hermana Gabby told us that they are having a lot of troubles in their relationship and Jorge is considering leaving. They have been together for 5 years but they told us they were always arguing and it was tough.
Elder Sierra and I are 18 and 19 year old boys and we are by no means qualified to give relationship advice, so we honestly had no idea what to tell them. We wanted to encourage them that by living more like Christ and showing more love they could improve their relationship, but we also didn´t want to tell them they should be married if they really don´t get along. As I was thinking about what kind of counsel we could give them, prayer came to mind. Then Elder Sierra began talking about how prayer could guide them. Then the thought came into my head, "We don´t know, but your Heavenly Father knows everything." Seconds later, I heard Elder Sierra say these exact words in Spanish. I could not deny that the spirit was guiding us both in this moment. I began to speak and told Gabby and Jorge that I can´t always understand their Spanish very well, but I can testify that the words of Elder Sierra are true because I was thinking of those exact same words. I got choked up and began to cry because I realized the Spirit was working through us. As I testified to them that their Heavenly Father loves them and knows them perfectly, the Spirit touched their hearts and they both began to tear up. We told them that in reality, we don´t know what they should do, but Heavenly Father wants to help them and guide them, and if they reach out to Him in prayer, He will give them an answer. We invited them to pray together and be willing to accept whatever answer they receive.

I testify that if we are worthy and obedient, we will have the power of the Holy Ghost with us as we teach. We do not need to worry, only trust in the promise of the Lord that it will be given us in the very moment what we shall say.

I love you all and hope you have a great week! Always remember how much we really owe and live in a way that demonstrates that understanding!


Elder Harris

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