Thursday, February 23, 2017

Looking Up!

                                                                                                         February 20, 2017
Hi Everyone!

This week was really good. This morning it got a lot better when Elder Cohelo wrote me telling me SONIA GOT BAPTIZED! I am so happy for her and that she was able to conquer her addiction and receive the ordinances of salvation! Elder Cohelo sent me a picture.

On Wednesday, (our P-day or day off) we went to a place called country club a little bit out of the city and they had a high ropes course which was pretty fun! It was a good zone activity and we got pretty sunburnt which was good too as long as we don't get skin cancer.

We were able to find a few more people to teach this week which has been exciting and the group is getting stronger! Ten more people went to church yesterday than last week and I feel like I did my part this week to be worthy of that blessing.

One good family we are teaching is the Familia Umacata. They have a baptismal date for the 18 of march but are having trouble going to church. The past two Sundays it has rained, which is a really big impediment to going to church in bolivia for some reason. Most people tell us "I will go if it doesn't rain" haha. But please pray that they can go to church this week!

This week we had a lot of crazy changes with the limits and within the Ward. The other companionship of Elders in the Ward are leaving tomorrow. Their area has been closed because a lot of missionaries go home this cambio. So the Hermanas in the ward will get all of their area and we won't have as many missionaries in the Ward. (The situation is complicated haha, we still belong to the Ward and have the same leaders, we just go to church like 20 minutes away with some of the members)

But, the work is really good here! The members are helping us out a lot and we have been able to help reactivate a few of the less active members here. 

I have been able to learn so much this week and I am so grateful for the Spirit! It is so amazing to have an hour each morning to feel the spirit testifying of truth as I study the words of the prophets! I would encourage all of you to look for that time each day to strengthen your testimony and receive revelation! It is so sacred!

I know that President Monson is truly a prophet of God and that this is His true church. The priesthood of God is on the earth and the work is going forth! As we love and serve, we can be the Savior´s hands here on the earth! He loves us and He lives! Remember it each day and you will always have his Spirit to be with you!

Love you all and hope you have a great week!

Elder Harris

Bienvenidos a Tarija

                                                                                            February 15, 2017
Hi Everyone!

So this week was cambios and I have been transferred to Tarija (Tar-ee-huh), which is basically the most beautiful place on earth!

 On Wednesday we had a one hour flight from Santa Cruz and it was really fun getting to be in a plane for some reason.

It was tough saying goodbye to members and converts in Guapilo, but I am looking forward to new changes.
Bishop and the boys together for the last time.
Last visit with the Nunez family 
My new companion is Elder Wirthlin from Detroit and it is really weird having a gringo companion again, but I love it. His trainer just died (finished his mission) so I will be finishing his training and I love elder Wirthlin. He is really humble, super funny, and he has made my first week here pretty great. My new assignment is district leader which has been pretty overwhelming because I have no idea how to be a district leader, but we have a pretty awesome district and I am excited about it!

So Tarija is basically like is a lot colder here than in Santa Cruz (like 60-70 degrees in the daytime) which has been super nice. The mountains here are incredible and I love everything about my area. I have been called to serve in a Family Group, which is smaller than a branch. Our grupo Familiar is called La Alianza, or the alliance. So there are about 30 members that go to church each sunday and we meet in a rented out house. This is a really tough area and we pretty much have no investigators right now so that's been hard, but we are working hard to find people to teach and I know things will get better with time!

One of my favorite experiences this week was in Church. There were about 30 of us seated in a small room for sacrament meeting and the high council representative was announcing the new callings of members. As I watched him standing in front of a table and we raised our hands to sustain these members in their callings, I thought of the organization of the Church in 1830. 56 People met in a log cabin and in that moment they could see the church a thousand times larger. I know that the Lord has great things in store for La Alianza and that this work will go forward because He is leading it!

I know that Heavenly Father loves us and because he loves us He sent His son Jesus Christ. I know the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. I know that as bearers of the priesthood we hold the power and authority of the living God to bless and heal his children. This is His work and I love being a part of it!

Love you all and have a great week! Please pray that we can find more people to teach!


Elder Harris

Omar's Baptism

                                                                                                February 6, 2017
Hi Family!
Thanks for your emails! Also, I got my Christmas package and I want to thank everyone for your gifts! We have been enjoying the candy and special shout out to Hilary for the sour patch watermelons...I was really missing those.
Also I just want to say, you guys are amazing and so generous for sending gifts for Elder Cohelo! He was really happy and I just thought to myself like Dash from the Incredibles, "I love this family!"
Thank you for your love and being so kind to everyone.
This week was really great. We have transfers tomorrow and we aren't sure what is going to happen, but they are going to open another area in Guapilo which is really exciting! We have been waiting for this since I got here haha. The area is way too big and has way too much potential for just two Elders. So we will see what happens.
We found a new family this week that are so prepared, the Familia Serrate! One of our lessons fell through and as we were walking to another contact we talked with a man who was with his son outside the house. He invited us in and we visited with his wife and their FIVE SONS! The mom has A LOT of questions and they are recently reading the bible each day as a family. She went to after our second visit and chatted with three different representatives. On Saturday we invited them to the baptism of Omar and the mom brought all five of her kids! So that was the first miracle...
During the baptism and as I was changing after the baptism I closed my eyes and prayed that Omar's parents and Familia Serrate could feel the Spirit. After the baptism, we gave them a tour of the chapel with the Elders Quorum president Hermano Millares accompanying us.
We asked them how they felt during the baptism, and the 13 year old son Diego told us he felt good. I asked him if he felt anything different, and he said, "Yeah, like this is the Church I should join."
Heavenly Father answered my prayers and I am really excited about this family!
And more about Omar...he has been going to church for a few months now and he was finally baptized this Saturday! We had to rush a little bit to finish preparing him, but he was ready. His parents are so supportive and even though they have different religions they understand his baptismal covenant and are ready to support him. His mom gave the closing prayer in the baptism and it was really special...she said she knows this is the path that he should take and the path that will lead him back to Heavenly Father! Hopefully we can work with them in the future, for now they are being prepared by their son.

Below is a picture of Alfredo, one of our favorite members of the Ward who likes to speak English.
Here is a picture of our zone:
I love this work and I love each of you!
Have a great week!
Elder Harris

An Action Packed Week Filled With Blessings

                                                                                                    January 30, 2017
This week was crazy!!!! We had 4 intercambios (exchanges) during the week and I couldn't have imagined a more exciting week. So I will just share some of the best parts.

On Wednesday we had the worldwide missionary transmission! They made some changes in the schedule and now I have more time to sleep each night (hooray!) The transmission was great and afterwards I went on an intercambio with my district leader Elder Owen. He is a super good district leader and although it was short I learned a lot. Also, we both look super gringo so there was lots of name calling and jokes made.
On Thursday we practiced our musical number (tried to send a video but the file is too large) and went out for ice cream after. It was my first time eating real ice cream in a long time and it made me miss Coldstone haha.
Saturday, Elder Quentin L Cook came and spoke to our mission and the Santa Cruz North mission together and it was an amazing conference! Our musical number went really well and the Lord answered my prayers. I know by the power of the Holy Ghost that Elder Cook is an apostle of the Lord. His wife directed us in singing some of my favorite hymns. Singing "Hark All Ye Nations" with more than 300 other missionaries was incredible. We also sang, "How Firm a Foundation," as the closing hymn and the Spirit was so strong! I love the hymns and the power of music in helping us feel the Spirit. 
Elder Cook was great and spoke a lot about love and our divine calling as representatives of the Savior.  One of the blessings he gave of us was the assurance that everyone we love will be blessed by this mission. I am sure of that principle as I have already seen many blessings and continue to be blessed each day. 
After the Conference I had an intercambio with Elder Sierra for the afternoon! We got to visit a lot of recent converts and it was so good being back with him!
He was able to stay for the baptism, which went really well!
Marina and her four grandchildren were baptized.
Marina understands her baptismal covenant so well and it makes me really happy! She is going to be the rock of this family and have such an amazing influence on her children and grandchildren!
On Sunday we had armadillo for lunch (always a dream of mine.)

It was suprisingly delicious and a great memory.
They gave each of the missionaries a claw to keep.
We are also teaching an 11 year old boy named Omar. Yesterday we received permission from his parents to  baptize him on Saturday! So that was really exciting. He goes to church on his own each Sunday and is so ready to make this commitment.
I am so grateful for the mission and this opportunity to serve the Savior! We have been so blessed here in Guapilo and the Lord's work is going forth until it fills the earth! What a privilege to play a small part in that work!
I love you all and hope you have a great week!
Elder Harris