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.


Elder Harris

710236482913463654393 BLESSINGS!!!!

Hi Family!                                                                             May 22, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the old days it was used for human sacrifice.

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

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

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


Elder Harris

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Happy Mother's Day!!

Hi Family!                                                                                 May 15, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And look--yes, more giant avacados!

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

Have a great week!

Elder Harris

Monday, May 8, 2017


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love you all and have a great week!

Elder Harris

The Best of Birthdays!!!

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

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

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

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

Our Advocate before the Father

                                                                                                    April 24, 2017       
Hi Everyone!

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Love you all and hope your week is great!

Elder Harris