Monday, October 23, 2017

The Golden Rake

                                                                                                      Oct. 23, 2017
Hola Family,

Really good week! It has been great being back with Elder Sierra and I have been brought to tears laughing several times this week.

Monday we got to visit some converts in Guapilo...

It was really special to go back to where we lived a year ago and see so many wonderful people!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Some of the people we taught are still struggling with old habits, but we were able to give some motivation and there was no better way to spend our P-day!
 
This week we were really busy planning an initiative to help the zone find more people to teach so they can start out the transfer well! Finding is so important in the work and we based it on 2 Corinthians 9:6 which says:
 
"But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly, and he which soweth bountifully shall reap bountifully." 

So this week we have a huge competition planned to see which companionship and which District can find the most new investigators and we are really pumped about it! The prize is a miniature rake we painted gold and put on a trophy stand. Every Elder and Sister in Zona La Pampa will be competing for the golden rake these next 7 days.

We were blessed to find a really prepared investigator this week named Sebastian. His brother is a member and before he wasn't really interested in the church. But this week we decided to give it a try and he accepted a baptismal date for November 11th! He went to church yesterday and made some good friends already, so we are really excited for him!

Raquel has another baptismal date for the 4th, but she didn't go to church yesterday and we really need her to go! Please pray for her! We are doing everything possible and she already has a testimony, but she just really needs to attend more consistently!

This week we got a nice break from the heat, on Thursday it rained like crazy!!!
 

We had to walk through flooded streets to get to a baptism of a boy from the Ward. I got to speak at the baptism and it was really special.

 
The rain in Bolivia is such a beautiful reminder of baptism because it cleans out all the garbage from the streets and leaves things nice and clean. Every time we sin it is like throwing a piece of garbage on the ground and every week that garbage accumulates leaving our lives dirty. But as we are baptized and later on partake of the sacrament, we are completely cleansed and get to start again!
 
Never forget the importance of the sacrament. As we prepare ourselves and partake worthily, we are made clean and we can let all that filth be swept away!

Love,

Elder Harris

Transfers...

                                                                                                       Oct. 16, 2017
Hello Family,
 
To quote Kari, the babysitter from the Incredible's movie, "Strange things are happening!"
(Please imagine that in the voice of Kari, the babysitter, if not this email will not be as meaningful for you.)
 
Well, today Elder Valencia left for his new area which was pretty sad.
I have really enjoyed these last two transfers and he has definitely been one of my best companions. I will miss him and I wanted to share a couple of our last pictures. 
 
 
 
Now for the strange things...my new companion is my very own father in the mission, Elder Sierra. (For those who may not understand, your first trainer in the mission is referred to as your father.)
 
Great to be back with Elder Sierra!
It is very unusual that we have the opportunity to be back serving together, but we are very excited and it will be a blast. This is his last transfer before going home and so we are going to work very hard. It seems funny that one year later we are back in the same zone, right now sitting in the same internet where we went a year ago, and this afternoon we are headed out to Guapilo to visit converts.
 
Something we have been doing with our recent converts lately, is helping them become spiritually self sufficient by setting goals to read the Book of Mormon. We set a goal with them to read a certain amount of the Book of Mormon and then pick a date for them to finish. If they meet their goal by that day, we take them out to dinner. Javier finished 2 Nephi last week so Monday we had some delicious chicken and rice! It is a total win win haha
 
This week we also had an activity with the young single adults in our Ward as well as another Ward nearby. It was a competition between the two Wards, and we played games like human foosball, scripture knowledge, and other games we invented. It was a blast, but sadly no one brought a friend so even though it turned out well, there weren't any results as far as finding new investigators.
 
 
 
 
 
 
They have also been doing construction outside our house, (Bolivia is recently getting sewers installed) so there was a water breakage which led to the formation of some rather large puddles. One day, just as we were leaving the house, I tried to jump over a puddle but didn't calculate the distance well, and fell in the puddle. It was right in front of the workers which was really embarrassing, but we just cracked up after.
 
I am still being well fed in this area. Olga is fattening me up with her cookies and apple pie. The members give us a ton of food and we are very grateful and blessed! 
 
 
My favorite part of this week was reading Mosiah 14-16. I highly encourage you all to read these three chapters. They helped me learn so much about the Atonement of Jesus Christ and what He suffered because of His love for us. He was completely innocent and didn't deserve any punishment, but decided to be wounded for our transgressions and smitten for our sins, so that Heavenly Father could give Him the power to intercede for us in the day of judgment. I am so grateful that He chose to suffer for us and for this amazing plan our Father has created!
 
Love you all!
 
Have an amazing week!
 
Elder Harris

El Calor: Nunca Deja de Ser (The Heat Never Ceases!)

                                                                                                           Oct. 9, 2017
Hello All,

This week was great! One thing I can testify of is that the heat and humidity in Bolivia is a lot like charity, "for charity never faileth!" It has been a hot hot week, but a lot of great memories and we got to do a lot of fun things this week!


Here we are on our P-day eating lunch together as a zone. We also got to play capture the flag which was a blast! 

Tuesday I had a long anticipated exchange with Elder Harrison. As you may have guessed our names made it pretty awkward. Introducing ourselves all day as Elder Harris and Elder Harrison...


If both of us being named Elder wasn't weird for people I think our last names did it. But it was a great day and we got to talk with a lot of people!














This week we found a new family, Familia Herrera, and they are married! That is very uncommon here in Bolivia so we are really excited and hoping to see some big progress this week!

We are also teaching Anali Gonzalez and several of her children. She went to church yesterday with her kids and really wants to be baptized. The thing is she is not married and her husband is not interested in marriage or the church. So please pray for him so his heart is softened and he can support his wife more!
 
On Friday night we went to a plaza as a District and had a really cool activity. We had two tables and on the tables there were pieces of paper numbered 1 through 10. Each number was a question having to do with God, the Prophets, Jesus Christ, and His Apostles. #1 was the easiest and #10 was the hardest. Some examples were : "How many Apostles did Jesus Christ have?" Or "Who was the Prophet that built an arc and filled it with animals?" We gave passersby candy for the questions they answered correctly and it was fun watching people progress from question to question.

The final question was "True or False: Jesus Christ visited the Americas?" It was interesting watching people think about it and ask each other and reminded me of the beginning of the Meet the Mormons movie haha. Most people said false because they only know about the Bible. This was the best part of the activity! We got to tell people that it was true! We explained a little bit about the Book of Mormon and then wrote peoples names and addresses down so the missionaries can visit them and give them a Book of Mormon! I really enjoyed teaching people about the restoration in such a simple way and the activity was a huge success!

I love this work and there is nothing better than being a full time missionary!

Here are a few fun pictures from the week... 

The District
Good Eats!!!



Bolivian Sunset!!

 
Have a great week!
 
Elder Harris

Monday, October 2, 2017

God Bless our Prophets Dear!

                                                                                                    Oct. 2, 2017
Hello Family,

What an amazing weekend it has been! General conference was so inspired and I am so grateful to know that there are Prophets, Seers, and Revelators on the earth today!


This week we got to invite SO MANY people to Conference and all week we were getting our investigators hyped for the Conference. Raquel, Juanito, Familia Rodriguez, and a new family all went and enjoyed the Conference!
 
 
We are going to follow up with them in the next few days and hear how their testimonies were strengthened!
 
One of my favorite moments from Conference was Saturday morning when President Eyring signaled with his hand for all to be seated. To me it was amazing to see how all members of the Church were focused on his hand, watching to know what to do. How amazing it is that all of us, no matter where we are on the world, we can fix our focus on the Prophets called of God to know what to do! And as they signal to us, we all obey in unity!

Saturday in the Priesthood session, Elder Richard G Maynes gave a talk I really loved about integrity and how to earn the Lord's trust! We need to keep our word in order to have His trust. When we say we are going to do something, we should do it! He said, "Once you compromise your integrity, it is very hard to get it back." The Lord must feel so sad when we break our promises to Him! On the other hand, when we keep covenants we can say with joy "Dad, I kept my Promise!" (See Joy Jones' talk from last Conference.)

I hope we can all discover the joy that comes from living with integrity of heart and keeping the sacred promises we have made with our Heavenly Father!

I want to share a couple of fun pictures from our week...
                                                 
                                                       Olga made us snickerdoodles!!

                                                      Caught drinking coconut water

Love,

Elder Harris

Blessings on Blessings

                                                                                             Sept. 25, 2017
Hi Family,                                                                           

This week was great! Lots of memorable moments. I didn't really mention this in my letter last week, but last week was tough for us, we struggled a lot to find new investigators and it wasn't our best week. President called us in for interviews Tuesday, and we read a scripture together in the Bible that says, "Neither he that sows is something, nor he that reaps, but rather God, who gives growth." (Sorry
for my rough English translation.)
 
Sometimes in life (and especially in the mission) we need hard times to humble us and help us remember that success is not the result of our own efforts, but rather a gift from our Heavenly Father. So after a humbling week we were quicker to recognize the abundant blessings we received, not earned, this week and it we were able to find a lot more new investigators!
 
Raquel didn't go to church yesterday which was a bummer, so we will have to postpone her baptism a few more weeks. We couldn't visit Freddy this week because the pool was pretty busy, but we are working a lot with a teenager named Juanito who is doing good and obtaining a testimony little by little.
 
Update on Javier: He went to seminary this whole week which made me super happy and also went to the Bolivian equivalent of Mormon Prom on Friday so he is doing good.
 
I am excited for Conference and cant wait to hear from our Prophet! I know these men are called of God and this is an amazing opportunity to receive His guidance in our lives. Please invite a friend or someone who has never been so they can feel that too!
 
Elder Harris

Four Sloths in a Tree

                                                                                                Sept. 18, 2017

Hola Family,

As you can tell I am running out of creative titles for these emails, but this week we saw 4 sloths in the same tree, hence the title 4 sloths in a tree. I'll send you a pic.

On Monday, our day off or P-day, I went bowling for the first time in over a year! Not sure how but my lack of practice made me better than ever and in my first game I bowled three strikes in a row and all the Latinos thought I was a bowling legend. But then my luck wore out and I played terribly the rest of the day. haha.
 
On Wednesday we had an exchange in Cotoca, a town about 20 minutes out of Santa Cruz. There in the Plaza we saw the previously mentioned sloths. It was a great day, we did a lot of finding and spent a lot of time in the sun!

Javier went to church yesterday which was really exciting! The sad news is that Emilene Ortuño had to move to another Ward in the Stake the other day. We got to help her move Thursday night, but sadly we won't be able to teach her anymore. :(

As far as investigators go, Raquel didn't go to church yesterday so we have to postpone her baptism.

This week we taught Freddy, a 40 year old man who is extremely humble and so kind to us. He thanked us repeatedly for our visit and he also has a lot of desires to change. He accepted a baptismal date for October 7th and we are going to visit him again this week. He works at a pool and keeps telling us to bring shorts to go swimming after the lesson but do not worry, we are going to be strong.

Not a lot of news this week, but we had a lot of opportunities to serve!
 
This week I learned that Priesthood means service. It is service that transforms as into the men Heavenly Father needs us to be and helps us look outside ourselves and help His other children!

Love,

Elder Harris

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