Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Unanswered Prayers

                                                                                                               Sept. 11, 2017

 Hi Family!

This week was marvelous!! We saw a lot of blessings and we are receiving a lot of help from the members!  But, first, I want to share a few pictures. 

 On Monday, our P-day (Preparation Day) we got to play soccer. 

Tuesday was Elder Valencia's birthday so people gave us cake all week!
Bolivian tradition is to put your face in the cake and contaminate it with your germs before everyone else eats haha.
 I have to say, for the first time in my life I was sick of eating cake.
 
 Happy Birthday Elder Valencia!! (The cake is pink because it was also their daughter's birthday, just so it's clear!!)

We also were in a trio with my Grandson Elder Limaico, (trained by the one and only Elder Cohelo) who will also be training this transfer! He is from Ecuador and we had a great day with him!
 
First trio in my whole mission which was really weird, but no one was seriously injured and that's the important thing.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 As for our investigators, we couldn't visit Familia Callejas this week. We are teaching a 15 year old girl named Raquel Amblos and she has been having so much trouble with going to church. Well yesterday she finally went and stayed all three hours. The young women did a great job befriending her and she is on track for her baptism the 23rd of September.

Javier has been having some family problems, so please pray for him that he can attend church this Sunday. He hasn't gone for the past two weeks!

Another family we are teaching is Familia Zambrana Nina. The husband was originally not interested and rejected our invitation to go to Church, but his heart has totally been softened and they are a really prepared family! More to come next week...

Last night we visited a less active man named Alfredo. Alfredo served a mission in Bolivia and later on was a Bishop, but had some problems in his life that caused him to move to Santa Cruz. His life has taken a turn for the worst in many aspects and he told us he kneels down and prays every day, but things go worse and he feels like  Heavenly Father doesn't hear his petitions.

As I listened, I thought of the Savior in the Garden of Gethsemane. Yesterday during the Sacrament I read the account of the Atonement of Jesus Christ in Matthew and learned something new: Christ asked his Father THREE times to pass this cup from Him. THREE times he made the same plea, yet the unimaginable pain, heartache, and suffering continued.

Did God not love Jesus Christ?

Did He not listen to His prayer?

Yet our Savior's petition was not granted. But did Christ lose faith in His Father? No, because He trusted that God had something more important in mind and understood that what He was going through, for some reason or other, was necessary, or His request would have been granted.

There is nothing wrong with asking for what we want when we pray. The Son of God did so three times! But when our request is not granted, we have to understand that it is NOT because Heavenly Father didn't hear our prayers. It is NOT because He doesn't love us. It is because He knows what is best for our eternal good, and true faith is trusting that His will is and always will be what is best for us.

I know He lives and I know He loves us. He does answers prayers! But when He doesn't, we have to continue putting our trust in Him and have faith that He sees what we do not see and knows what we do not know.

I love you all and hope you have a great week! Trust Him!
Elder Harris
 

 


Apple Pie and Old Men With Slingshots

                                                                                                            September 4, 2017
Hello all,

This week was quite unforgettable! However I slacked off a little on my journal writing so at the moment I have forgotten a few important parts.

Picture with Elder Hall and Elder Harrison
from my group this week at a Zone Conference.
Monday we had a great zone activity! Mama Olga made apple pie for everyone and we played ultimate frisbee in the park. Santa Cruz may be the hardest place in the world to play ultimate frisbee because the wind never stops here.

Tuesday we found a really choice family, Familia Callejas! Their 15 year old son Jorge went to church last week and he is really interested! The mom was also really prepared and she and her three sons accepted a baptismal date for September 30th. The only problem is the Dad refuses to meet with us because he heard some rumors about the church and he didn't let them go to church on Sunday. We fasted for them this weekend but please pray that his heart can be softened and he can feel desires to learn more!


This week as we were starting a lesson with Zacarias, our 75 year old, very hard of hearing investigator, he went inside and brought out a sling shot and a plastic bag full of rocks. His dog was apparently bothering him a lot, so he started letting 'em fly and it must have been quite the sight to see: An American and a Colombian in white shirts and ties practically yelling about the plan of salvation to a half deaf man as he shot his dog somewhat mercilessly. What a day to be alive!

Lots of answered prayers this week and we have been able to find so many new investigators lately! I love this area and I am really enjoying my companion too. Today was transfers and we will be staying together another 6 weeks which is going to be a blast!

This week I learned something new about the Savior. Jesus Christ didn't atone for our sins because it was His luck to be our Savior. He didn't do it because the lot fell to Him or it was His turn. He did it because He wanted to! I can only imagine the moment in pre-mortal life when He gladly offered himself to be our Savior! He was happy to do it because of how much He loves us!

I am so grateful for Him and His love for us. The choices we make every day show Him if we appreciate His sacrifice or not. I love this gospel! It is so simple and full of so much love! 

Have an amazing week!

Elder Harris



                                                                               

Javier and Mia's Baptisms

                                                                                                            August 28, 2017

Hello!

This week was really rewarding! Saturday was the Javier and Mia's baptism and it was really special!
                                                                  
Here is a picture of Mia surrounded by her family. Mia is a lot more
photogenic than we are.   
We sang, "More Holiness Give Me," and I could feel the Spirit so strongly.

As I looked at these two children of God, I felt how hard they are trying and how great a desire they have to be clean and pure!






         



Javier with Antonio, member missionary extraordinaire.
Javier is the slightly shorter one without a tie on. 



They both went to church yesterday and Javier brought his cousin. Although Javier doesn't have the support of his family, he is such a strong convert and wants to serve a mission! 









Friday was"Festival Moroni," a big dance festival for the Young Men and Young Women in the Stake. It was great to see everyone from Guapilo there, and cheer on my new Ward.

Reunited with Bishop Teran, Daniel, and Lucas Vargas
Lucero won and it was really hype! Lucas told me he is going every Sunday and preparing for a mission! 

Let see what else is new...it is about 100 degrees in Santa Cruz today and it is supposed to stay there for the next week. So the next time you see a picture of me I may be dark brown and 20 pounds lighter. Do not be alarmed!

Not a lot of news a part from that, looking forward to Zone Conference this week. We also have been finding a lot of new unknown fruits in the supermarket lately, so if I make some new exotic fruit juices I will be sure to send pictures.

Love you all! This is the Lord's work and He loves each and every one of us!

Elder Harris

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Faith and Hope

                                                                                                   August 21, 2017
Hola Familia,

Wow what a week! Easily one of the best weeks of my mission and I think things will keep getting better!

We had some great exchanges and were able to accomplish a lot this week.

Sadly, Javier and Mia didn't get baptized because Javier's cousin passed away and Mia's Mom has been sick, but they are both on track for this Saturday!

Another lowlight from this week was it rained and the street we live on flooded for several days...Thursday we were walking in peace and tranquility when a car came zooming down the street, plowed through the water, and left us soaked from the ribs down. It was straight out of the movies.


Now for the good parts and some great pics...

We are being spoiled by Olga's yummy cooking!


Grandma's barbecue chicken with Ernesto and Olga
It's not every day that you find graffiti made especially for your Mission President.



On Wednesday, I got to visit Guapilo which was a blast seeing members and a few converts too!


Loved seeing my good friend, Juan Luis


"The boys are back!" Some of my favorites!!

Loved being back with my trainer, Elder Sierra for a day
Friday we had another exchange but this time with the Assistants, and guess who I got to spend the day with? My trainer Elder Sierra! It felt like the good old days and we were able to teach A LOT of people that day. He is a legend and helped motivate me to talk with LITERALLY everyone...he doesn't like letting people escape.

This week I learned that sometimes we limit ourselves a lot with our attitude...if we conform to what we have always done and the results we have always obtained, we will never realize the amazing potential Heavenly Father sees in us. An important part of that is having faith and hope. If we don't BELIEVE we can be something more, we won't be able to invoke the powers of faith in our lives. All the miracles that were brought to pass in the scriptures were only done by Faith, because they were things HOPED for.

So my challenge this week is to forget that their are limits and accomplish things you never have! Have faith and hope and see miracles!
 
Love,
 
Elder Harris

Emilene's Baptism

                                                                                                August 14, 2017
Hello Folks! 
 
This week was quite exciting, although now that I am thinking about it, I can't remember all the reasons why. But hopefully something I say here will interest you.

Tuesday, we had an inspection from Sister Rodriguez, the President's wife. She was not very pleased by the lack of cleanliness in our house, but at the end Olga and Ernesto said some very flattering, partly true things like, "they have baptized a lot of investigators, and 90 people are going to the temple this week." To which Sister Rodriguez said, "they are hard workers, but very dirty."
This was a good reminder, that although we are hard workers, we need to try and work harder on the cleanliness part.

After that we had interviews with President which went a lot better. I also got to see Elder Cohelo that day which was a joyful reunion!

This week flew by and we were excited when Saturday came because we had a baptism!
 
Emilene Ortuño decided to be baptized and Elder Valencia baptized her.
 
 
   Her two sons were baptized a few weeks ago and she was really happy to follow their example.
A picture of Emilene Ortuno with her family
Her sister, who is the Relief Society President, spoke at the baptism and it was a really great service! 

We have two investigators on track for baptism this week, Mia, a nine year old girl from the Ward, and Javier Burgos, a 16 year old boy whose friend invited him to church a while back! So kids, invite your friends to church! It might work! We are REALLY REALLY excited for Javier because he has been wanting to get baptized for the past few weeks, but his dad didn't give him permission. Well, last Sunday we decided to fast for Javier's dad so he would have a change of heart and let Javier be baptized. Last night, we passed by their house and talked with his dad, and he had changed his mind completely!!! I know that Heavenly Father answered our prayers and that when we fast we become more worthy of his amazing blessings!

I am really happy with my companion and my Ward, and also happy to be back where I started.

Church yesterday with Javier and his friend Antonio
Yesterday at Conference I got to see a lot of members from Guapilo and even a few people I had taught so long ago! This week I get to do an exchange there and I am pumped for that too!

I wanted to share a picture of a stellar referral we recently received that didn't have an address, but made us smile...
If anyone knows a Fatima who makes bread, please let us know where she lives.   


Love you all! Have a great week!

Elder Harris
 

Miracles on Miracles...

                                                                                                           August 7, 2017
Hola Family,
 
We had an amazing week this week! I drank less Coca Cola and I think that had a lot to do with it! We started off our week playing Wally as a zone, which is (It is like volleyball, but in a racquetball court) basically volleyball for the un-athletic. But it was quite a hoot and we had a good time!
 
Tuesday, we had an exchange with the other Elders in our Ward. I don't remember a lot, but we worked really hard and ate ice cream--the key to being a happy missionary.

On Thursday, we had a Leadership Council with President which was really good. We watched a powerful talk from Elder Holland about the role of the Spirit in missionary work, entitled "The Third Companion." He shared an amazing story that made me want to seek more the guidance of the Spirit and pray for it each day. On Thursday I started doing that, and our weekend was just chalk full of miracles.
Friday, we were giving a baptismal interview and a member approached us and asked if he could accompany us in the afternoon to visit some less active members he knows. We were a bit reluctant because we had planned to study, but decided to go with him. We visited a few families and were heading back to the chapel when he remembered another woman who lived a few blocks away. When we got to her house, Marlene let us in and gave us something to drink because of the heat. We started with a prayer and right after she told us all about her family and why she was less active in the church. She informed us, that lately she has been attending another church, and she has felt confused about what is right. Last weekend she decided to fast to know what church was true, and through tears she told us, "And now you have arrived." I felt the Spirit so strongly, and it bore witness to both of us, that we were the answer to her prayers. There is nothing more incredible than being the answer to someone's prayers. I know without a shadow of a doubt that this is the Lord's work. He directs it and if we are worthy of the Spirit, He will lead us exactly where we need to go!
The other miracle, is that EVERY SINGLE door we knocked on this week was opened, and every house we went to received us and let us teach them the gospel. It was so strange for me, like we couldn't make a mistake, because in every house we felt impressed to visit, we were able to teach the gospel. It was another amazing answer to my prayers!
I love this Ward! It is huge and the young men and young women are doing so much to share the gospel! So we decided to take advantage and have an activity with them last night. I taught about sharing through social media and it went really well!


The work is great here and I'm doing well. I love you all and hope you have a great week!
 
Love,
 
Elder Harris
                                                                                 

Transitioning to my new area

                                                                                                           July 31, 2017
Hello Family!
 
This week has been really great! My new area is quite different from the last and so I am learning a lot about adapting.
First of all it is about 200 degrees here in Santa Cruz and the heat combined with lots of Coca Cola makes me really sleepy. I am having trouble staying awake in moments when I really need to be awake. So please pray that I can have more energy this week haha.
Last Sunday I attended church with about 34 other members and yesterday I was in church with about 296 other members! This new Ward is gigantic and we don't fit in the chapel, so they are going to remodel our chapel in the next few months.
I have already met a lot of great members, and set a goal to learn everyone's name which is proving quite difficult with so many people, but I haven't given up yet! The people are really kind here and so welcoming, and I have already run into several people I met and even some I taught a year ago in exchanges!
We live with an older couple named Olga and Ernesto...Olga cooks us lunch every day and she makes a mean apple pie, better than any apple pie I ever ate in the States. So there is a 100% chance I am going to get fat this transfer because Olga loves giving us tasty food.
My favorite part of this week was the sacrament yesterday...in Alianza the sacrament lasted like 30 seconds because there were so few members, but here I have a lot of time to reflect and ponder on the Atonement.
 
This week I learned that if the Atonement had only been to save me and no one else, it still would have been worth it for the Savior. That statement is true for each and everyone of us. He wants us to never forget that He suffered for each one of us!!! I encourage all of you to think of the Atonement in a more individual way this week. He accepted the bitter cup with joy because He knew it was the only way we could return to our Father in Heaven! I am so grateful for Jesus Christ and for His infinite love for us!
The computer isn't letting me upload pictures today, but just know that I am still 5' 10 and white and my companion is a somewhat short Colombian with black hair. He is currently wearing gray shorts and a chelsea jersey.
Love you all and hope you have a fantastic week!
 
Elder Harris

Back in La Pampa

                                                                                                         July 24, 2017
So the big news with transfers is....

I am going back to my birthplace, La Pampa! I will be in the same zone where I started, but in a different Ward called Lucero. It is right next to Guapilo, so hopefully I will get to visit some members and converts real soon! My new companion will be Elder Valencia from Colombia and I am really excited to work with him!
 
We've had an exciting last week here in Tarija.

Saturday Najara Garamendi was baptized and I had the privilege of baptizing her!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
She was so ready! On Sunday when we visited her, she said she felt something indescribable in her baptism, something she just didn't know how to explain! I am so grateful that the Spirit bore witness to her of the righteous choice she was making.

Sunday we spent the day visiting converts and saying our goodbyes which was really bittersweet!
 
I am so grateful for all of the amazing people I met and all that I have learned. I will miss these wonderful people and wanted to share a few pictures:
My good friend Carlos gave me a special hat!

A picture with my dear friend, Raul in the flesh


Saying goodbye to Bishop and Familia Olivera
I love Alianza so much and the 6 months I spent here was absolutely incredible! It was my first time ever in a branch and at first it was a little difficult, but I wouldn't trade it for anything! This is the Lord's Church and He uses it to help His children become more like Him. We are His work and His glory! 
Love you all and hope you have a great week!
 
Love,

Elder Harris
 
P.S. Santa Cruz is just as windy and hot as I left, in case your were wondering.

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