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!
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!
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!

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