Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Looking for Rainbows...

                                                                                           January 23, 2017

Sooo, I'm trying to get a little more artsy with the subjects of my emails and thought rainbows would be appropriate. Needless to say we saw no rainbows this week, BUT there was a huge rain storm and it was crazy!
A picture of our Chapel after the rainstorm.
Luckily we were inside the house of a member, but afterwards all of the dirt roads were flooded. We were trapped in this little part of our area for like half an hour trying to build bridges to escape. Finally a taxi drove by and gave us a free ride to the pavement! It was quite the night haha.

Sadly, Sonia couldn't be baptized this week because she struggled with smoking again. But we are going to continue to pray and fast for her to be able to quit, so she will be worthy and ready for baptism!
This week was great and the work is moving forward so well here in Guapilo! I really don't want to leave at the end of this cambio (transfer) so I keep telling everyone that my companion will get transferred for sure.
The biggest thing that happened this week is that Sara, Juana, and Lucero got baptized!


There were a lot of tender mercies and we received permission to baptize them on Saturday!

The baptismal service was really awesome and one of the sisters from our Ward sang, "I like to look for  Rainbows," as part of her talk.

I love that song and it is a great reminder of how clean we can be thanks to baptism and repentance! It is such an amazing feeling to be clean after we have made a mistake and a feeling we can all obtain by partaking of the sacrament each week!

Yesterday was super super hot. I normally don't wear my sombrero because the Jehovah's Witnesses here usually wear sombreros when they proselite, and I don't want people to get us mixed up...but it was REALLY hot so we wore them. 

We had some great experiences with the Book of Mormon this week! We visited the Familia Flores Quispe and Wednesday for the first time in a few weeks and the wife told us she had a really strange experience. One night she was reading the Book of Mormon and she started to pray really sincerely to know if it was true. She fell asleep after and had a dream that night. She saw two men dressed in white outside her house, but she was afraid and wouldn't let them in. I felt the Spirit so strongly as she talked and I knew this was an answer to her prayers! On Saturday she and her husband went to the baptism and they are progressing well! 
I love this Ward and I love the work! Thanks for all your love and prayers! Hope everyone has a great week!
Elder Harris

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Lucas' Baptism

                                                                                                   January 16, 2017

Hi Everyone!

So first of all on Saturday Lucas was baptized! That is our big news for the week!

The Bishop baptized him and it was a really great baptismal service! 

During the baptism I was looking at the painting of John the Baptist and the Savior and remembered  Matthew 3:17, where the Spirit bears witness that the Father was pleased with His beloved Son. I know that our Heavenly Father was pleased with His son Lucas for taking this step towards eternal life!

Sonia told us on Tuesday that her brother was in the hospital in critical condition. He is getting better now but she really wanted him to see her baptism. She really hopes he can see her be baptized and feel desires to make changes in his life as well. It was so sweet to hear her tell us all of this and we said a prayer together for her brother. So she will be baptized this Saturday as long as she doesn't smoke this week. But please pray for her because she relapsed on Friday!

Also, yesterday some of the grandkids in the Familia Vaca Mendez went to church on their own! It was so great to see their resolve and now we are more confident that they will keep their covenants even though there parents wont be there to support them! This Saturday Marina and 4 of her grandkids will be baptized! We went there yesterday and they taught us how to make empanadas de queso and then we ate them after the lesson. Unfortunately, we couldn't get pictures.
But here are a couple of pictures that I wanted to share...

This is us mowing the lawn with Hermano Aguilar.  Arghh...

A picture with Miguel, an older man we are teaching.

I think my favorite part of this week was reading the story of the prodigal son. This is one of my favorite stories from the scriptures and such a powerful reminder of our Heavenly Father´s love and mercy. Like the prodigal son, I have wasted at times an incredible inheritance living in ways I shouldn't. But over and over again He has welcomed me with open arms. He has not with held a single blessing and He is waiting to bless each of us as we repent and return to His side!

Have a great week and remember how much He loves you!

Elder Harris

Friday, January 13, 2017

I love the simplicity of the Gospel!

                                                                                                       January 9, 2017
Hi Friends and Family!

Thanks for your emails! Glad you enjoyed your Holiday time and were able to spend so much time together as families! I too am grateful for families and for temples that allow us to be sealed together as eternal families. This has been a great week!

        Meet Lorenzo, a parrot that one of the members owns. 
On Tuesday we taught Sonia and told her that she needs to stop smoking completely this week. We asked her if she had any cigarettes left. She went inside, brought out her pack of cigarettes, and we threw it in the canal. It was a great memory and an important step for her! She passed her baptismal interview on Saturday and will be baptized this week, but only if she doesn´t smoke a single cigarette! We fasted for her yesterday, but please pray that she can be strong this week and leave behind this addiction!
Lucas Vargas, a young man we are teaching, will also be baptized this Saturday! We finally received permission from the other Stake to baptize him. We are working with the Familia Vaca Mendez still and they are progressing really well, but got sick yesterday and didn't come to church, which was a bummer.
Yesterday one of the families we are teaching, Carlos and Kathy, went to church and stayed all three hours! Carlos loved it and the members helped us so much! Everyone was welcoming them and introducing themselves and it was so good!
This week our Mission President, President Rodriguez, sat in on our district meeting which was really intense, but we learned a lot from him which was good!
Yesterday, my companion and I were asked to teach Gospel Principles. It was the first lesson of the year and it was such a special opportunity to be in a room with our investigators and teach them the most basic truths of the gospel: That God is our loving Heavenly Father. It helped me remember the beautiful simplicity of the gospel. We are children of a perfect Father who wants us to be as happy as he is! To help us be happy and perfect, he has given us a checklist of each thing that we need to do to become like Him. It's called the commandments. And we learn what those things are as we read the scriptures and go to church. 
I love this gospel and the perfect plan Heavenly Father has created for us! To think that one day we can be like Him is incredible! I am so grateful for His plan and his commandments! He lives and He loves us!
Have a great week!
Elder Harris

New Year--New Goals!!

                                                                                                        January 2, 2017     
Hi Family!
I hope everyone had a great New Year's Celebration and enjoyed time together!
We went out for hamburgers and I bought myself some cinnamon oatmeal milk so I guess you could say it was pretty special.
We are excited for a new year and a new month! This cambio I will be staying in Guapilo with Elder Cohelo. I will have been here 6 months and everyone here keeps saying I will follow in Elder Sierras footsteps and stay here a year. We´ll see haha.
Here is a picture of me and Elder Cohelo with a young man named Fabio. He is one of our youth who is preparing for a mission. 

This month we are prepping for 3 baptisms! Sonia is preparing for the 14th but has not come to church the last two weeks which is tough. She will still be baptized the 14th, but please pray that she can be healthy this week and go to church because it will really help her before her baptism!
Also, Marina, Lucero, Juana, Jose, Juan David, Nelly, Fransisco, and Sarita Vaca Mendez are all preparing for the 21 of january! We are really excited for them and they have been able to develop more friendship with the Ward which has been good.
The new year is a special time to set new goals and think about what we can do to become what our Heavenly Father wants us to be. I hope we can all think of specific and measurable things to do throughout the year that will allow us to meet our potential as sons and daughters of god!
This week I am especially grateful for our heritage as Latter Day Saints!
On Monday I watched 17 miracles and it was such a great reminder of the role of sacrifice in building the kingdom of God. What amazing examples our ancestors have given us.
The Savior truly loves us and has the power to accomplish miracles in our lives if we turn to him and exercise our faith. I know He loves us. I know that when we pray in the name of Jesus Christ, He WILL answer our prayers. It is such a privilege to be one of His representatives and it is a privilege we all have. Every week we promise to take his name upon us. Keep this promise and have an incredible week!
Elder Harris

"Teach Me to Walk in the Light"

                                                                                                  December 26, 2016
Hi Family! So great to see you all on Skype yesterday! I feel so blessed with such incredible family and friends!!
This week was unforgettable! My first Christmas in the mission and I could not have asked for better memories. I will just share a few of my favorite parts.

On Wednesday we were teaching a lesson to a new family and before we said the opening prayer I explained to them how we pray. I guess I just wasn't thinking and I said "To pray, we cross our eyes and close our arms" and then I few seconds later I realized what I said and just cracked up hahaha. But part of me wishes I hadn´t corrected myself because I would have liked to see if they actually crossed their eyes as part of the prayer haha.
One of the challenges for Light the World I did this week was to say all prayers of gratitude for a day. I did it throughout the day and it was hard! We are so used to asking and asking and asking that sometimes we forget that we already have so much. At the end of the day I was so much happier and felt more gratitude for all of the blessings I have received!

This week we had a Ward talent show where some Ward members re-enacted the Christmas story. Here is a picture of our three wise men.

My companion and I were asked to do a skit on "premortal life." It was a little rough, but we enjoyed being a part. Our Ward activities start really late here, so while were waiting for it to start, the other Ward had a baptism and we were able to go to the baptism with the Familia Vaca Mendez!
They are progressing well and are on track to be baptized early in January!

Sonia told us she wants more time to finish the Book of Mormon before her baptism, so her baptism will be the 14th of January! I really hope I stay another cambio so I can be here for her baptism!
Here is a picture of us visiting with the Mercado family kids, Bruno, Anthony, and Steven.

My favorite part of the week was singing hymns as a zone in the plaza. On Christmas Eve we sang for about an hour and it was so special. We started singing Christmas hymns, but then moved to hymns of the restoration and other well known hymns. One of the songs we sang was, "Teach Me to Walk in the Light." As we were singing, I realized that this song more than any other describes the reason we celebrate Christmas. He came here to teach us to follow him. He came here to teach us to pray. He came here to teach us what we have to do to return to our heavenly father. And by atoning for our sins, He did what was necessary to bring us back to our Heavenly home. I am so grateful for his life and his light. It is such an amazing message we have to share with those we love - at Christmas time and throughout the year. "God loves us so He sent His son!"
I can say with certainty this is the best decision I have ever made! I love my mission and I love this gospel!
Elder Harris