Monday, July 17, 2017

Family Reunion

                                                                                                    July 17, 2017
Hola Familia!
 
This week we had a multi-zone conference and so I got to see lots of friends from the mission. I forgot to mention that my trainer Elder Sierra is now the Assistant (told you he was good) which makes me feel proud just because I am his son. And my grandfather, Elder Aguilar, who trained Elder Sierra, finishes his mission this next week so we got to hear his last testimony and it was a proud moment for the family. Photo attached.
Last picture with Elder Aguilar, my grandfather (trained Elder Sierra)
Several of you asked me what I did on my one year anniversary as a missionary. Well, Wednesday in the morning at about 1:00 a.m., I woke up with a really bad case of chills. So, I started off my celebrations for the day by taking a hot bath and ended up sleeping a few hours in the bath tub because it was too cold to get out. After that I took a few naps until my fever broke and then we went to lunch. I still felt absolutely awful, so I slept at the Bishop's house and then went back to our house to sleep. So I had a great day overall! I didn't get to teach a single lesson, but at least I got some rest after a year of hard work!
So I am really grateful for good health! I received a priesthood blessing and said a lot of prayers that day, and Thursday morning when I woke up, I felt a lot better! I was able to work all day Thursday and enjoy the Zone Conference as well. Heavenly Father answers our prayers and has a perfect timetable for us!
Updates on Investigators:
So hopefully all of you remember Raul who was about to be baptized like 2 months ago...he still hasn't totally resolved his doubt with tithing, but he went to church yesterday and has done so much to repent! He accepted the invitation to be baptized this weekend and now just please pray he can overcome his doubts! Yesterday in gospel principles class, we talked about sacrifice. He said, "I think God is happier with us when we obey, without fully understanding why He is asking something of us." It was such a powerful statement from an investigator and we are really excited for him to be baptized this week!
Nayara Garamendi and Pablo Diaz also went to church and are preparing to be baptized Saturday! Please pray that everything can go well!
Our converts are great and all of them were at church yesterday which made me really happy! The work is going so well here and I am excited for the changes to come!
Love,
 
Elder Harris

"Happy 4th!" - Moving

                                                                                            July 10, 2017
Hello Everybody!
 
"Happy 4th of July" from your favorite gringos in Tarija!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
This week we had a lot of changes...on Tuesday morning all the zone came over to help us move! We moved to a nice big house in our area and it is only the second floor instead of our fifth floor apartment so I am really excited for the opportunity not to exercise!

After we finished moving they sent me on exchanges for two days straight which was quite hectic, but at the end it was good to be back in my area. 
Intercambio (Exchanges) in the desert
 
 



 The other move this week was back to the house we were meeting in in San Luis! For the past 3 months we have been meeting in the Stake Center while they were remodeling the house we rent to hold church. Yesterday was the inauguration and it is a lot bigger now! I am grateful to have such a beautiful building to meet in and to be a part of a worldwide church!
 
There is no piano in the house we meet in so I have been unofficially released from my unofficial calling as branch pianist. It was good while it lasted.

The branch is good and the recent converts are all doing so well! Yesterday Aylen was called as Young Women's secretary and next week Arasely will hopefully receive a calling too!
 
Here are a couple of pictures I want to share: 


There are more Bulls fans here in Tarija than Chicago
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Leonor and Lorenzo Tuco - my Bolivian Grandparents
This week I was reading in Alma in the Book of Mormon and I highly recommend it! The first half of Alma teaches us so many incredible things about missionary work and I invite all of you to study it to know what you can do to share the gospel! Chapters 19 to 26 are some of my favorites in the whole Book of Mormon.

When the father of King Lamoni was being taught the gospel, he offered a prayer and said to our Heavenly Father "I will give away all my sins to know thee!" This is a sacrifice that sometimes we aren't willing to make. We all have habits and weaknesses that keep us from being worthy of eternal life with our Heavenly Father, and each day we need to be willing to give away all of our sins to know Him. It is the struggle of a lifetime, but the reward is so worth it!
 
Love, 
Elder Harris

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Baptisms/Looking For the Good

                                                                                                  July 3, 2017
Hi Family!

This week was jam packed with blessings and the biggest was the baptism on Saturday!


I'm excited to announce that
Arasely and Aylen Tejerina and Araceli Martinez were baptized Saturday night!! 
A lot of members from the branch went and it was an amazing baptism! We are really excited for them because there aren't many young adults in the Ward, but they can support each other and help each other in this process.
 
 Arasely was really able to feel the Spirit when she was baptized and all three of them in their testimonies said they were sure this was the right decision, and Aylen said, it was "the perfect decision!"

I totally agree and I know that choosing to follow Jesus Christ is a perfect decision!













 
This week I was reading a little bit in the New Testament and I learned something that I loved and wanted to share. In Mark 14:3-9, there is a story about a woman who took some really expensive ointment and poured it on the Savior. Those who were with the Savior started to criticize the woman, saying that the ointment could have been sold to help the poor and the needy. After listening to them criticize this woman, the Savior said to them "Let her alone, why trouble ye her? She hath wrought a good work on me"

When I read this story I realized that Christ looked for the good in others and everything they did. While other people criticized and bothered this woman, the Savior praised her for the sacrifice she was making on His behalf. I think looking for the good in others is something really hard for us to do as humans! We are so prone to criticize and look for faults in those around us, but our lives would be so much happier if we look for the good side of people and each thing they do and say!

I love the mission and feel so privileged to be a part of this work, especially to be serving where I am at this time. I know God loves us and wants us to be happy, and the gospel of Jesus Christ is the perfect plan of happiness!

I want to share a few fun pictures from our P-day this week:

We went to the country club and it was a blast! We got to play American football and I also got to play frisbee with the owner's miniature horse (photos attached)



















We also got to climb a fun ropes course with zip lines. 
 
 
 

Happy Birthday to the good ole USA and hope everyone enjoys watching their respective dogs hide from the fireworks this Tuesday night!

Love,

Elder Harris


Every Person Is Important!

                                                                                                  June 26, 2017
Hello Family!
 
This week was really good...we have seen a lot of progress with our investigators and we also were able to find lots of new investigators that are really prepared to receive the gospel!

Friday was Carlos Camacho's birthday so we celebrated with a really delicious chocolate cake! We let him keep the half of the cake we didn't eat which I am really regretting lately.


Yesterday, he received the Aaronic Priesthood and was also called as the 1st Counselor of the Young Men's Presidency. There is only one active young man in the branch for now but soon there will be more!

Aracely Martinez and Familia Tejerina went to church yesterday which means they will be baptized this Saturday! We are really excited and tonight we have a family home evening planned with all 5 of them and another family in the branch.

This week I was able to feel love for some of our new investigators in really incredible ways. Yesterday we had a lesson with some Seventh Day Adventists, who believe that Saturday is the Sabbath day. It was my first lesson with someone of this religion and it wasn't very productive because they just kept talking about the Sabbath day and wouldn't let us talk about anything else. I was just trying my best to end the lesson respectfully and testify a little bit of the message of the restoration. At one point while the husband was talking, I decided to look into his eyes, and in that moment, Heavenly Father let me feel so much love for Him and all I could think about was how much God loves him and how sad He is that one of His children is lost and needs to be guided back.
 
As missionaries we talk with a lot of people and its not always easy to feel that love, but we just have to remember how much every person means to Him!

Love you all and hope your week is great!

Elder Harris


Seeing Their Potential

                                                                                                  June 19, 2017
Hi Family!

Thanks to everyone for your emails, glad Father's Day was great! Shout out to two special fathers in my life, Dad, my own father, and Theo, the father of my niece and nephew. 
Hope your day was great!

This week there was a lot happening here in Alianza.

Church with Sebastian, Aracely, and Ayleen Tejerina
One of the biggest blessings was that a ton of people went to church yesterday! We had 8 investigators there and 7 of them were under 25! Young people are so prepared to receive the gospel and so willing to try new things so please share the gospel with your friends!

One memorable moment this week was a conversation we had with a drunk man. We were waiting for someone on a park bench when a drunk man approached us asking for money. Instead I gave him a plan of salvation pamphlet and as we talked he told me I had beautiful eyes, which is usually a flattering compliment but not when it comes from a 47 year old drunk Bolivian man who you have never met. So he told us it is okay if we visit him in his house someday and as he said goodbye he grabbed my head and gave me a rather forceful kiss on the cheek.
What a day to be alive.

In terms of investigators, Abraham and Pablo didn't go to church yesterday so their baptismal date for this weekend fell. But, Familia Tejerina went and they are on track for the first of July! They are doing really well. Please pray that they can gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon this week!

The greatest lesson I learned this week is the importance of seeing people for who they CAN be. There is a man in our area named Lorenzo. When I was serving with Elder Wirthlin, we always saw him drunk on the streets. One time he spoke to us and began crying, but instead of trying to help him I just tried to end the conversation and walk away because to me, he was just another drunk man. But a couple weeks ago we found Lorenzo in his house and he was sober. We taught him a lesson and found out he is a loving father of two teenage kids. He expressed his desires to stop drinking and told us he felt great being sober! He even wanted to go to church.

Well this week on Friday, we were walking and found Lorenzo walking in the street drunk. He approached us crying and told us that he lost his daughter. He had been looking for her for days and no one knew where she was. I thought of the loving, sober man we had taught and his desires to change And this time I listened sincerely and felt desires to help him. I wanted to hug him and tell him everything was going to work out.

To serve people effectively, we have to separate their character from their condition. We have to see people not for what they are, but for what they can become. We have to remember their potential and remember how they are at their best. This is the only way we will truly be able to love and serve the people around us!

Abrazos,

Elder Harris


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Transfers

                                                                                                    June 12, 2017
Hello to All!

Today is transfers and the big news is...no transfers for us! I will stay another 6 weeks in Alianza with Elder Campozano. I am not District leader anymore which will be nice not having to plan the meetings haha, but I will miss working with the Elders and Sisters in our District.

Not a whole lot of news this week. The blessings keep coming and we are seeing so much success with the teenagers and young adults here in the mission! The biggest miracle of the week is that yesterday eight of our investigators went to church- and all 8 of them were between the ages of 15-25! We have shifted our focus in the mission and we focus more on teaching the young people and we are seeing so much success with that change.

Abraham and his cousins Pablo and Kevin went yesterday and are progressing towards their baptismal date for the 24th! Also we are teaching Familia Tejerina, a single mother with three teenage kids and her nephew who is 19. The four kids went to church on their own yesterday which was amazing!

Carlos was sick yesterday and couldn't go to church which was a bummer, but he is going to have an interview to receive the priesthood this week which is exciting! Cristina went again yesterday and they are thinking about calling her to be a primary teacher which would be a perfect calling for her!

Bryan Miranda still doesn´t really have a testimony and has lots of doubts about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, so please pray that he can gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon and feel the Spirit as he reads this week!

Fun fact about Bolivia: People´s most formal family photos that they hang on their walls are almost always just their heads photo shopped into a stock photo. I am still trying to figure out why.

Please enjoy this photo of our district and a photo I took with a member when I thought I was going to get transferred haha.

Sisters and Elders in our District

Me with a member of our Alianza Branch
Love you all and hope you have a great week! Read the Book of Mormon and pray every day and you will be happy no matter what is going on in your life!!!

Love,

Elder Harris

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Carlos' Baptism

                                                                                                   June 5, 2017
Hola Family,

This week was incredible!!! I don´t know how, but every week is just better and better in this area and I am just wondering when the blessings are going to run out and it is going to get hard again.

Elder Campozano and me with Carlos
On Saturday Carlos got baptized! He was so ready and it was such a good baptismal service. He is a really funny guy and one of the best friends I have made on my mission. I am super happy for him. We didn't do a very good job planning the baptismal service, but A TON of members came and it all turned out great.
 
Also, two of the young men we are teaching, Abraham and Bryan, both came to the baptism and really liked it!
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Bryan and his brother went to church yesterday and stayed all three hours! In the afternoon Bryan joined us to do home teaching with the Elder´s Quorum yesterday! He is the only investigator I know who has already done home teaching and he did it like a pro. He shared a scripture during the visit and his testimony of the Savior as well. It is a total tender mercy that we found him and he is preparing to be baptized the 17th of June. 
Picture with the Branch Pres. and Stake Pres.- Carlos's baptism was the first baptism in the Alianza Branch.
Post Baptism Celebration with Carlos
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I want to share one more picture of a multi-zone activity where we had a lot of fun playing soccer! 
 
It is winter time here in Tarija and it has gotten pretty darn cold. We were eating lunch with some members and talking about how cold it was and the 6 year old daughter said "I like the winter" So I asked her why and she said because of the snow. It has never snowed in Tarija in recorded history, but I guess that is true faith.
 
Lots of tender mercies this week and the Lord has guided us to so many people who are prepared to receive the gospel!

This week we watched a video called "The Mediator" with an investigator and it is such a simple and powerful video about the Atonement of Jesus Christ and what He has done to save us from the demands of justice. I am so grateful for the Savior and how He sacrificed all He had to pay our debt. Please watch this video if you can find it!

One scripture I really liked in the Book of Mormon this week is 2 Nephi 26:24:
 "Él no hace nada a menos que sea para el beneficio del mundo; porque él ama al mundo, al grado de dar su propia vida para traer a todos los hombres a él. Por tanto, a nadie manda él que no participe de su salvación." (English) "He doeth not anything save it be for the benefit of the world; for he loveth the world, even that he layeth down his own life that he may draw all men unto him. Wherefore, he commandeth none that they shall not partake of his salvation.

I know Heavenly Father loves us and He does nothing save it be for our eternal happiness!

Never forget that and have a great week!

Love,

Elder Harris
 

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Robberies and Answered prayers

Hello Everyone,                                                                               May 29, 2017

This week was great and once again full of blessings!

First of all an update on Cristina Humacata,-- she is doing super duper well! On Monday we did a family home evening with her and another family in the branch and it was great. Later in the week we were walking one night and we found her with the Relief Society President doing their visiting teaching! I don´t think I have ever been happier in my life about women doing their visiting teaching, (hahaha) but the Ward is helping her and watching over her and she is doing well. Nayara didn't go to church yesterday, but next week hopefully she will.

Yesterday we had a great church attendance and 5 of our investigators went! Four of them are young men and we are seeing so much success here with the young people. They are so prepared to receive the gospel! This weekend Carlos Camacho, who we found just a few weeks ago, is going to be baptized. So we are excited for that! Please pray that he can understand everything we teach this week.

As for Raul, he didn't get baptized this Saturday which was a bummer. He has a lot of doubts about the law of tithing and asked for more time to work things out. So please pray for him that he can understand better the law of tithing and the reason God commands us to pay tithing. I am sure he will understand soon!

This week on our P-day we got to visit a beautiful waterfall with our District. The water was low and it was quite mystical. Here are a few pictures you might enjoy...










One of the big changes this week is that the rules in our mission have been changed, so we now wake up at 7:00 a.m. and return home at 10:00 p.m.! Tarija for the most part is really safe, but as any missionary in South America knows, this is a game changer because there are so many people who only have time at night to meet with us! So I am pumped for the change, but who knows for how long my body is going to keep waking up at 6:30. haha.

Saturday night we were walking home, when we saw two guys run around the corner. As we got closer, there was a man with blood all over his face who had been robbed. Apparently, there was an intense chase, but they did not catch the robbers. The guy was okay, but from this incident I learned that the Bolivian police do not arrive at the scene very quickly. We waited about 15 minutes and got tired of waiting for the police so we left.

This week we met a few people who don't believe in God because there is so much suffering and evil in the world. At first I didn't know what to say, but I have come to understand that our agency is so important for our Heavenly Father that He is willing to see us suffer sometimes so that we can become like Him. He loves us so much and although it must make him so sad to see His children suffering because of the actions of others, it is worth it because it is the only way we could become more like Him!

I know Heavenly Father answers prayers in so many incredible ways. Not always in our time and not always the way we want, but He listens and He answers. I am so grateful for the amazing plan He has created for us!
 
I love this gospel and I love being a missionary. There is no greater calling than to love and serve others and the Lord blesses us so abundantly for it.

Love,

Elder Harris


710236482913463654393 BLESSINGS!!!!

Hi Family!                                                                             May 22, 2017

Hope the title of this email doesn't look like some sort of scam.

This week has been really great! The Lord is blessing us so much and has led us to so many new investigators this week!


Raul is on track to be baptized this Saturday! The other day he told us, "I won't be able to go to church this Sunday because I have meetings for the countryside association every third Sunday, but I am going to talk to them and ask if we can change it to Saturday." So they accepted, and he said now he will be able to attend church every Sunday! This was such an eye opener to me and helped me learn about the nature of repentance. It can be simple things like that! He recognized he needed to make a change in his life, did what was necessary and is now striving to keep the commandments! He is really ready and we are excited for this Saturday!

This week I decided I was going to try to read the scriptures in Spanish...pretty sure I am the only gringo missionary with more than three months in the mission that doesn't study in Spanish, but it was hard for me before! But I tried again this week and it is going a lot better so hooray for the gift of tongues.

I am also really happy because Cristina Humacata is doing super well! She went to church again yesterday and brought Nayara, another woman we are teaching who lives in her house! So that was really exciting and a huge blessing that she came!

Here are a few pictures from our P-day activity on Monday, where
all the missionaries in our District visited a mountain area called Cristo.



In the old days it was used for human sacrifice.

Elder Campozano and me goofing around
I also found a cow on the way down.

 
This week I read a talk that taught me a really important lesson. It's from Elder Uchtdorfs talk, "A summer with great aunt Rose," from a few Conferences back. I encourage all of you to read it because it helped me understand that we can CHOOSE to be happy! We just have to focus on the good and be more grateful for all of the ways we are blessed and we will always be happy no matter what our circumstances!

I love the mission...I learn something new every day and I feel like I have grown more in these past 10 months than the other 18 years of my life haha. I love you all and hope you have a great week!
 
Choose to be happy!

Love,

Elder Harris

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Happy Mother's Day!!

Hi Family!                                                                                 May 15, 2017

Thanks so much for Skype yesterday! I loved seeing all of you!

   
I especially loved visiting with everyone and laughing together! 
 
 This week was great! We were blessed to find a lot of new investigators and see a lot of progress.

Raul is doing good and on track for his baptismal date for the 27th. Please pray that he can commit to keep the commandments and receive a stronger testimony  of all we are teaching.

One miracle we saw this week was finding Carlos Camacho, a young man who used to receive the missionaries but never was baptized. While we were waiting like 20 minutes for a bus who drove by in his volkswagen bug and asked if we wanted a ride. We started talking to him and he is super prepared to receive the gospel! He went to church all three hours yesterday and made some good friends there. He even gave the closing prayer in both classes haha.


Elder Campozano and I are rejoicing as we share the blessings of the Book of Mormon with others!
 
The Bible and the Book of Mormon  go hand in hand and
are true witnesses of Jesus Christ.

The highlight of my week was finishing the Book of Mormon!
In the past few months I have grown to love this book so much! I know it is the word of God and it should be the foundation of our testimony!

Please read the Book of Mormon each day! You will feel so much light in your life and the spirit will help you learn each and every time you open this book! I know it is true and I know it invites us to come unto Christ and be saved!

Just wanted to leave you with a few fun pictures from the week:

We stumbled upon this graffiti and I thought it was perfect for Mother's Day. This is for you Mom!


On our P-day we discovered a huge dinosaur slide and just had to go down!

And look--yes, more giant avacados!


I love this work and I know the Lord is directing it! It is a stone cut without hands that is rolling forth each and every day and filling the earth! I am grateful to be a missionary and I know our Savior lives and loves us!

Have a great week!

Elder Harris

Monday, May 8, 2017

Transfers

Hi Family!                                                                             May 8, 2017
 
This week was transfers and Elder Wirthlin is going to Santa Cruz!
 
I will miss Elder Wirthlin and am sad to say goodbye. He has been a great companion and friend! 

Elder Wirthlin saying goodbye to a member
I received a new companion, Elder Campozano! He is from Ecuador and has about 3 months in the mission! He is a semi-pro soccer player and he knows A LOT. He has taught me a lot already and we are seeing a lot of success with finding new investigators!

Yesterday was our first official meeting as a branch and it was great! Lots of great testimonies...yesterday we discovered there is no one in the branch that plays the piano so I had to play. I was never very good and it has been a long time since I practiced so I just played the top line of each hymn and it was awful haha. But so far I am looking like the favorite for branch pianist.

We had a lot of great lessons this week. I am learning how to look for opportunities to find and teach in every moment and it is something that has really helped us!

Raul is progressing well, he couldn't go to church yesterday which was a bummer but he told us he is praying every day and he feels so much more peace than when he first started talking to us! Pray that he can go to church this week so he can be baptized next Saturday!

We couldn't meet with the three young men Saturday because they were busy, but this week we found a lot of new investigators that are really good! One is Juan Illanes, who is really sincere and asked us if baptism was necessary. We explained to him baptism and read in John 3:5 and he said "Well that's the goal then, its obvious!" He has a baptismal date for the third of June.

This week I learned a lot about the power of prayer and fasting. I know that Heavenly Father hears our prayers. If we are willing to kneel down and talk to our Father in Heaven He will listen and comfort us! I know the Holy Ghost is the comforter and Heavenly Father lets us feel his presence because He loves us and wants to guide and comfort us. I am grateful for adversity and this week I was thinking a lot about a line from one of my new favorite songs that says:

"Give me mountains to climb, give me rivers to cross, give me something that's gonna make me better than I was."

I am happy that Heavenly Father gives us hard things to help us become more like Him, but that only happens as we endure it well and put in practice the teachings of the Savior! I am thankful for trials and this marvelous plan our Heavenly Father has for each one of us!

Love you all and have a great week!

Elder Harris


The Best of Birthdays!!!

Hi Family!                                                                                    May 1, 2017
 
Thank you all for your letters and birthday wishes! My birthday was incredible and I even got a kiss on the cheek from an older lady in the Ward who didn't know that that was not okay.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Also my companion sent a text secretly to the other Elders saying it was my birthday so I was sung to several times throughout the day.

Plus we had amazing food, candy, and cake!!!
 
Thanks to family for sending the awesome birthday package!!







And a special thanks to friends from my Stake who were able to coordinate with my family and deliver my birthday package. It was great to see Hillary and Bryce, who both previously served their missions in this area, and came back for a visit.    
 
It couldn't have been a better birthday and I feel very blessed!!
 
The big news of this week is that yesterday we had another Stake Conference and they announced that the family groups are now becoming branches! So instead of being awkwardly part of the Ward, but not at the same time La Alianza is now its own separate branch! I am both excited and worried by the change but we are excited to work hard with the new leaders to make this branch grow!
 
Also, Cristina is doing really good! She went to church yesterday, is reading the Book of Mormon and will be interviewed to receive a calling in the branch this week!
 
It has gotten pretty cold here in Tarija and I only have one sweater that fits me well so just know that probably all photos from here on out will be of me wearing a gray sweater.
 
Our only investigator with a baptismal date right now is Raul Sancias, who went to the priesthood session of general conference a few weeks back. We visited him this week and read with him in the Book of Mormon in 2 Nephi 2. He understood so well the plan of salvation and really loved what we read. We then talked about baptism and he accepted a baptismal date for the 20th of may. We invited him to church and he said "I have never really gone to church but if thats what it takes to get baptized then I guess I´ll have to go!" He went to church yesterday which was a huge blessing!
 
Saturday we had another lesson with the three young men...it went well and they have so much potential. They weren't ready to accept baptism but committed to read the Book of Mormon this week.
 
Saturday night we had a lesson with Eduardo, a college student who we have been teaching recently. It was a great lesson, but we always teach him in the park because his grandma is super Catholic and won't let us into their house. Normally the park is a great place to teach, but on Saturday we were visited by 3 different drunk men during the lesson. The first asked if we could help us find his uncle in Argentina, the second said some mean words I won´t repeat, and the third sat and listened attentively and even participated in the closing prayer. We aren´t going to teach lessons in the park on Saturday night anymore.

 
This week I have been reading the Book of Mormon a lot and I challenge all of you to read every day! So much happiness comes into my life each day as I read and I can really feel Heavenly Father communicating with me through the Spirit. This book was written for us and it is too incredible not to read! I love the Book of Mormon and promise you will see the hand of the lord in your lives if you read each day.
 
One of my favorite verses I read this week was 3 Nephi 5:20: "I have reason to bless my God and my Savior Jesus Christ...because they have blessed me and my people with knowledge unto the salvation of our souls." How truly blessed we are to know this gospel!
 
Love you all and hope you have a great week!
 
Elder Harris

Our Advocate before the Father

                                                                                                    April 24, 2017       
Hi Everyone!

Thanks so much for the Birthday wishes!!!
            
This week has been too good and we are being so so blessed here in La Alianza.
 
Cristina was baptized this Saturday and it was a great baptismal service!

Lots of members from the Ward came and Elder Wirthlin was able to baptize her which was exciting because it was his first baptism.












The Sister missionaries sang, "Lead Kindly Light," which was really beautiful and brought the Spirit so powerfully.








 
 

She was confirmed Sunday and now we are excited for her to keep progressing
and growing in her testimony!
 
Walking home from the baptism we saw a black guy standing outside (which is quite uncommon in Bolivia) and we started talking to him. All the basketball players left so it was just him, but his name is Deangelo and he´s from California. We talked with him for a while and he is living in Tarija for 4 months playing in the Bolivian league. He was a funny guy and we invited him to church! He said he would go if he didn't have practice. We went to his hotel to pick him up but it looks like he slept in. So hopefully next Sunday we can take him and translate for him!

This week I got to give a priesthood blessing to an Hermana that is having a lot of knee pain. This is her last week in the mission and she really just wants to keep working hard. As I gave the blessing, I felt inspired to bless her that her knee could heal completely and work without pain in this last week of her mission. The Spirit confirmed to me in such a powerful way that that was Heavenly Father´s will. I know that the priesthood is powerful and there is nothing more incredible than knowing that your words are in line with the will of the Father.

We were able to find lots of new investigators this week and we continue to be blessed each and every day. Yesterday lots of appointments fell through on us so we went to the park to contact. We saw three young men sitting down and I don't know what but sometimes the young guys intimidate me or something so we almost didn't talk to them. But we just went for it, and it turns out they are super interested. All three are from La Paz and are here doing military service. They were really sincere and at the end of our lesson one of them told us "I like this. It feels good talking about God like this" So we set up another appointment and invited them to church! I know the Lord can only guide us and bless us if we are fearless in sharing the gospel! If we don't open our mouths we will never know how prepared these people are!

Yesterday I had to give a talk in church last minute. A couple of weeks ago I did Elder Hales challenge and started studying Jesus Christ in the topical guide and read about how Christ is our advocate. In Spanish the word is "Abogado" which also means lawyer. So in church I talked about lawyers. How they are people who argue a case and usually charge a lot of money. So if your case is too complicated or you don´t have enough money, no one will plead your case.

Well, Christ is our advocate before the father. He is like a lawyer, but different than the majority of lawyers. He loves us and really wants to plead our case. It doesn't matter what we have done, there is no case He will not plead or reject because it is too difficult. And he will come to our aid over and over again free of cost and free of conditions. He gave everything so that He could do this for us. I love my savior and know he pleads our case before the Father each and every day that we repent and choose to follow him. Please read d and c 45:3-5, D&C 19:16-18 and 3 Nephi 17:17 which explain all of this a lot better and more beautifully than I have.

I love my Savior and I know He loves each one of us. Never forget it and do your best each day to show your gratitude for what he is done. All he asks of us in return for his services is our best.

Love you all and hope your week is great!

Elder Harris




Friday, April 21, 2017

Cold Water!

Hi Fam!!!                                                                                                 April 19, 2017
So you may be wondering why this email is titled cold water exclamation point. Well, I will explain it to you. But, first I want to share a few pictures.
A fun picture of me on the bridge
This is a Laguna De Oxidacion (that means "lake of the rusting," for you non-Spanish speakers.)
Surprisingly scenic given the name.  
This is a member who I think looks like Jerry Seinfield. He was excited when we told him he looks like an American celebrity.

A classic picture of me standing by the Guadalquivir River.  It is so beautiful here!!

This week was quite memorable! We had a zone conference and interviews with president which were both very encouraging. We talked about how finding new people to teach should be something fun! We shouldn't do the same thing every day like just knocking doors, but we should come up with creative things to do to find. I don't know what they are talking about, I find knocking doors exhilarating.
 
This week we met some interesting people. First of all a lot of basketball players came into town for some international league tryouts (it was easy to spot them because there are no other 7 foot tall black people in Tarija and they were staying in a hotel near our house) So we talked to their manager one day. His name is Kevin and he was really nice. He read our name tags and it was so nice to hear my name pronounced in a non-Spanish accent for once. So it was our first time contacting an American person and it went very well.
 
Also we started teaching Mauricio Marquez, a young man we met in the park. He started tell us about his life and it turns out he is a professional soccer player! He played for blooming, which is like the best team in Santa Cruz! So we are teaching a professional soccer player...what a bucket list item.
 
Now back to the cold water. This week our hot water broke, so showering every day was like a really painful game of hokey pokey.
 
Also it has gotten really cold here in Tarija...like 45 degrees! So that has to do with cold and also speaking of water, this weekend Cristina is going to be baptized!!! She was really hesitating and didn't feel like she was ready but we had to great lessons with her and told her "Why wait to receive the blessings?" So she accepted the invitation to be baptized this Saturday! She has her interview tonight, so please pray that her testimony can continue to grow and she can act with faith this weekend!
We have been so blessed this week and the Lord has led us to so many people who are prepared to receive the restored gospel! In our mission we focus a lot on finding families and young people, and this week we were able to start teaching two new families and several new young people! I am so grateful that the Lord hears our prayers and I am grateful for all of your prayers on our behalf.
I love being a missionary and being able to feel the spirit so abundantly! My testimony of the Book of Mormon and the prophet joseph smith grow stronger and stronger each day. READ THE BOOK OF MORMON! It is an absolutely incredible book and will help you come to know the Savior and be a better person. Everyday I learn so much from the examples of amazing men and women in this book who loved the savior and kept his commandments. I know that when we keep the commandments we are blessed! He loves us and His plan is perfect!
I am grateful for all of you and your examples and encouragement. I feel so blessed to have each one of you in my life and so blessed to be here in Bolivia at this time! Hope you all have a great week!
Love,
Elder Harris

Happy Easter!!

                                                                                                       April 10, 2017

Hello Family and Friends! Today we are celebrating a very special day...its Abby's Birthday!!! Don´t forget it because it is easily one of the two most important days this week.

This week was pretty trying, but it was fun! Monday was Bishop Olivera´s birthday (we eat lunch with him everyday so we are pretty tight) We gave him a tie and returned the tupperware we borrowed months ago. Happy birthday Obispo!

We also made salteñas with a member! Very long process but the most amazing food ever!
 
 
On Tuesday we got a young man who leaves for the mission soon to accompany us for two appointments with single women. They both failed us which was really disappointing. So we contacted for a little bit and then decided to walk to a less active sister who lives SUPER far away. I had never visited her before, but we had tried many times and she wasn't home.
 
When we arrived, she was home and we had a member so we were able to teach us. After the prayer she told us she had been praying a lot because a lot of things were going on in her life and that we were an answer to her prayers. I am so grateful that the Spirit guided us to her home and it was a miracle she was home in that moment and we had a male accompanying us. There is nothing better than being the answer to someone´s prayer and the Lord´s plan is always more perfect than what we may have in mind!

 
On Saturday we had a ward activity and I was so stressed I forgot to take pictures, it turned out okay.(P.S. If all else fails musical chairs and food makes for a great ward activity) Mostly just members came but one family we invited came and loved the activity! We have an appointment with them Wednesday and hopefully they will become investigators!
 
Here are a few pictures I was able to take that I want to share:

Bolivia = Beautiful!!
 
Me on an intercambio with Elder Aguilar (who plays a grandfather role)



A poorer area in our zone. It is very humbling!
I am very grateful for Easter and for this time to remember the sacrifice of our Savior Jesus Christ! 

I love the scripture Alma 24:10
 
"And I also thank my God, yea, my great God, that he hath granted unto us that we might repent of these things, and also that he hath forgiven us of these our many sins and murders which we have committed, and taken away the guilt from our hearts, through the merits of his Son." 
 
I'm so grateful that God has given us the chance to repent and be forgiven for all we have done!
I know that thanks to Him, what was said of Christ that Easter morning more than 2000 years ago can be said of us each day: "He is not here, for He is risen" Each day we can use his enabling power to rise to something more! We can leave behind the person we once were and become something even more incredible!

I am grateful for my Savior and for His ultimate expression of love for us! He laid down his life for us because he loves us! We can show our gratitude for what He did that day by choosing to repent today and become more like Him. He lives!

Love you all!

Elder Harris

P.S. Please pray that we can find more people to teach!!!