Monday, November 28, 2016

A Gospel of Doing Your Part!

                                                                                                       Nov. 28, 2016

Hi Family! Glad to hear everyone had a great thanksgiving and enjoyed their birthdays!
This week was a tough week, but also one of the most memorable weeks of my mission. As we witnessed a lot of investigators struggling to keep their commitments, something I learned is that this is a gospel of doing your part. It is so simple! Heavenly Father wants to give us so many blessings and all he asks is that we keep his commandments and do our part! Everything we teach as missionaries centers on keeping the commandments that he has given us and making covenants with our Heavenly Father. He has promised us so many amazing things, but we will never be able to experience them if we aren´t willing to do our part!
I am also learning so much from my companion! Elder Cohelo is a convert of three or 4 years and has a powerful testimony of the restored gospel. He also has such a pure love and concern for the people that I have never seen before in any missionary. He is helping me so much to refocus on my purpose and on other people instead of myself!
This week Sonia came to church which was such a blessing! The Familia Vaca Mendez told us they were going to come, but didn't which was sad.
We found a new family to teach. Kathy and Carlos have a 5 year old daughter and they are super prepared to receive the gospel! They accepted a baptismal date for the 13th of January and we are so excited to help them progress towards this goal!
This week the Lord truly allowed us to have the Spirit with us and testify by the Spirit! We had to be bold and fearless in testifying this week, especially with a man who has read the entire Book of Mormon, but will not be baptized. We testified of priesthood authority and it was a sad choice that he made not to be baptized, but we did all we could.
I am so grateful for the Spirit and the power of the Priesthood! I have such a strong testimony of the power that we hold and have access to! I am excited to start this Christmas season and hope we can all become more like the Savior one choice and action at a time!
Love you all! Happy Birthday Hilary and Reuben! Have a great week!
Elder Harris

Monday, November 21, 2016

News! First Cambio or Transfer

                                                                                                                Nov. 21, 2016

So this week, I received news on Tuesday that I have been assigned to be a trainer for this cambio or transfer. I'm really excited and happy and feel grateful for this opportunity! I also feel a little inadequate, in that I am still learning and growing, but I know that the Lord will bless me.

My companion is Elder Cohelo. He is from Iquitos Peru and fresh out the MTC. He is such a good teacher and so good with all the members and people in general!  He is also 21 so it is a little weird training him, but really good nonetheless!

I trust that the Lord asked me to train Elder Cohelo because He loves me and it will make me into the missionary I am supposed to be. I look forward to serving with Elder Cohelo!

In other news, they didn't open an area so we are still the only two Elders in Guapilo. Also I will give the sad news first: Sonia didn't come to church yesterday so her baptismal date for the 10th of December will be pushed back. We are going to try and visit her today or tomorrow and see what happened, but please pray that she can come to church this week!
Also, this week we were able to teach the familia Vaca Mendez and more and more people keep coming to the lessons haha. It is a family of somewhere around 12 and many of them accepted a baptismal date for the 6th of January! Yesterday they were going to come to church, but there was some sort of emergency so the adults couldn't. We passed by the house to pick them up and asked the kids if they still wanted to go. Four of them said yes, and so we all went to church together! This was such a great example to me of faith and desire to draw closer to the Lord. They had never been to church before and knew no one, but stayed all three hours. Last night Jose, the 11 year old son, asked us if we were going to have church again next week! This family is super prepared and I am so excited for them!
Something I have been really grateful for is the sweet presence of the Spirit. On the first day of this cambio (Wednesday), I received a promise from the Lord that we are going to be successful this cambio! It has been such a comfort for me to know this and I am grateful for the influence of the Spirit.
I know that Heavenly Father loves us and His only purpose and objective is our eternal happiness! He does nothing save it be to accomplish that purpose. If we can remember this we will be able to endure any difficult moment or trial!
I love you all and hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving! As members of the church we have so much to be grateful for!
Happy birthday to Jade, Dad, and Theo. Eat a lot of cake!
Elder Harris

Monday, November 14, 2016

Ready To Make Changes

                                                                                                                    Nov. 14, 2016
Hi Everyone! Thanks so much for all your emails and support!

So I promise this wasn´t intentional, but the title of this email is quite fitting because this week is cambios. (Transfers)... 

My companion, Elder Sierra has been here in this Ward 10 and a half months so we pretty much know exactly what is going to happen. He will be transferred to a new area this week and I will be getting a new companion.
Elder Sierra has been an awesome trainer! I am grateful that I could speak to him in English while learning and transitioning to Spanish. He has a strong testimony of the gospel and has taught me
a lot. I especially appreciate his sense of humor, as he has kept me laughing. 
Although I will miss serving with him, I look forward to meeting my new companion and setting some big goals for this next cambio!
With this being Elder Sierra's last week in the barrio, (he has been here almost a year) our pensionista and Ward mission leader made him a cake. (and even added my name at the last minute hahaha).


They are the Nunez family and they are so awesome!!

This week I really came to realize how lucky I am to have these two years to be a representative of Jesus Christ. Only two years to spend my time loving and teaching these people 24/7 and without the distractions of the world. I love the wonderful people I meet each day!

Although most of our time, we are either studying, serving, or out teaching, occasionally, on our P-day (our day off), we get to participate in fun recreational activities.
Last month, Elder Sierra and I got to play soccer with a great group of guys.

This week we visited a cool zoo or aviary with parrots and toucans.
This is me pretending to feed it a mango.
Recently, I had the opportunity to go on splits with another Elder, Elder Santos.
We discovered mangos--a lot of them!!

Just as we want to share the sweetness of the mangos, we must realize how important it is to share the fruits of the gospel with our neighbors and friends.   

This week I was able to study the story of David and Goliath and learned so much. David was so young but had such an unwavering confidence in our Heavenly Father. He said "Who is this philistine to defy the armies of the living god?" The work of our Heavenly Father is going forth and there is no man, no matter how strong or mighty, that can stop it! This week we have been able to work with people that are trying to overcome their own personal goliath´s, and as they put their faith in the living god, they have been able to make changes in their lives.

Sonia is making amazing progress! She has not had coffee in more than 10 days and is smoking less and less everyday. She has also read up to 2 Nephi 3 in the Book of Mormon and told us she has a goal to finish the book before her baptism on the 10th of December! We asked her granddaughter what changes she has seen in Sonia in the past month and she told us that before, Sonia was very closed and wouldn´t listen to anyone. She told us we are the first people to have ever reached her and she is becoming a completely different person. Sadly, she couldn't come to church yesterday so please pray for her that she can come this week or she won't be able to make her baptismal date!

This week we found several great families and invited them to baptism in the first visit. The Lord is preparing so many people here to receive the gospel, but most of all Hermano Vaca Mendez. We found he and his family and he asked us to come and talk with them. He repeatedly told us, "Listen to me, I don't want to do this anymore. I don't want to be like this anymore. I am ready to change." He doesn't have a family and has a lot of problems with drugs and alcohol, but accepted the invitation to be baptized.  

It is a witness to me that so many people are just waiting for a message like this. The invitation to be baptized is all they need to change their lives forever! They are just waiting for someone to tell them they can!
As I leave my training and start with a new companion I am so excited to see more and more changes in the lives of heavenly fathers children! This is His work and He will not fail us, no matter how great our foes may seem!
Love you all and have a great week!
Elder Harris

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Selbi's Baptism

                                                                                                            Nov. 7, 2016
Hi Everyone! So good to hear from all of you!

This week we had a really great week! Selbi was baptized on Saturday and I was able to baptize her.
It was such a special experience and we are so happy for her!



      It is such a privilege to be able to hold the priesthood and to exercise it for the salvation of His children!

A picture of Selbi's family coming together in celebration of her baptism. 
On Saturday, we were having trouble emptying the baptismal font before the baptism to put in clean water. There was a problem with the pump and we were trying to unjam it. Before Elder Sierra climbed down into a manhole, we said a prayer and asked for help. Soon after, I tried twisting the handle one more time just in case and it worked! The Lord answers the prayers of his children, no matter how small or insignificant they seem!

Sunday, we had a really powerful fast and testimony meeting. I have never felt with more surety in my life that Joseph Smith saw God the Father and Jesus Christ! Simple heartfelt testimonies can be so powerful and invite the Spirit so strongly. For the closing hymn we sang, "We Thank Thee O God For a Prophet," and it was such an amazing experience. I love being here and especially in this Ward! It is starting to feel like home and like it's "my Ward!"

Elder Sierra and me with Hermano Pena and Alfredo.
They are best friends and two legendary older men from our Ward.
They both love speaking English with us. 

This week Sonia has been making amazing progress! We gave her a priesthood blessing last week and for the last 8 days she has not been drinking any coffee! She even recognized how amazing this was because she drank 7 or 8 cups of coffee every day of her life! Not keeping the word of wisdom has really hurt her health, but she is starting to make the changes she needs to! She also has been reading in the Book of Mormon for a few HOURS every day which is amazing! This week we have
to work hard with her to help her overcome smoking!

We have so many great families to teach here in Guapilo and the Lord has blessed us with so much success. I am so grateful for the Spirit and how much it teaches me and strengthens me. It truly is amazing to see how Heavenly Father is changing people here and I love being able to play a part in that process.

I love you all and hope you have a great week! Remember that we belong to the true church of God once again restored to the Earth!


Elder Harris