Monday, February 29, 2016

Member of the 70 and Cock Fighting

Hows everyone doing? Things are really well here in Colombia. This week we were super busy and it went by super fast. We were informed that we would all head up to Medellin this week to be taught by Elder Godoy, a member of the 70. It was super fun, the whole trip took about 3 days. In the afternoon on Wednesday we traveled to Armenia and stayed there over the night. The following day we spent the whole day in a bus, it was pretty bad. Then we stayed at the Casa Hotel, the house for the missionaries. Then the next day we all woke up at 4 in the morning, got ready, and then headed for the chapel to hear from Elder Godoy. After we had our capacitation we all headed back to our areas, another 7-8 hours in a bus. It was pretty bad, we didnt get back to Armenia until 11 at night, which was bad. Woke up the next day super early and then headed to our area. We were so drained from all the traveling and we all got sick. My comp was in bed all day until we taught a few lessons from 7 until 9 that night. Then on Sunday we had interchanges with the other missionaries in our area. That was super cool, except Elder Opazo has very little patience, which can be a bit frustraiting, but we just gotta get better at working together.

I loved his words in the conference. Elder Godoy is a convert to the church, and he met with the missionaries before in his life. He told us all about how the missionaries have this kind of light, and that is what sparked his interest in the church. That just made me realize how important for us as missionaries to be the best example that we can be, that our image, our additude is what makes a difference. I love that, and that through my example, people will want to know more.

Im really sorry that I dont have a lot of photos this week, I wish I could get a lot more photos but in all honesty we just dont have a lot of time to take photos, instead we just work our butts off trying to share this freaking awesome message.

We were in a lesson when something super funny happened. We were talking about the Word of Wisdom when in the middle of the lesson this guy runs down the stairs, grabs a machete, and runs up the stairs. We were so confused my comp and I, we later found out that he went to go chop of heads of these rats that they had in their house. And these rats are huge, the are like the size of a chicuahua. Unfortunatley the rats all ran away before he could kill them. It was a super fun night haha. Also me and Elder Castillo were walking to an appointment when there was some cock fighting going on in the street. It was kinda messed up, and also my first encounter with anything like that hahah. We didnt have a lot of lessons this week, but it was a super fun week. Hope all is well at home. Have a solid week homies. :)

Elder Harris




Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The 4th Missionary

This week was pretty good I guess. We had a ton of fun this last Sunday. We had a lot of lessons and it rained the whole day. It was funny because we were going to wake people up and bring them with us to church. And then it started raining super hard! It was super cool, these two missionaries running in the rain. We were just running, like super fast, it was like an action movie. These two guys running in the rain haha, we were laughing and joking the whole time. We didn't get a lot of people to come, but it was a fun experience. Also this week went by super fast! The days and the weeks are going by really fast! I have been out for 5 months as of tomorrow. Almost a quarter of the mission. It is super crazy how fast the time is flying by. I love it though! I have overcome all of the home sickness, got the language down more or less, and I'm getting over my shyness with people. Also whenever I speak english with people it feels super weird. I am so use to speaking in spanish, english feels weird I don't know. Also how cool is that, like, I can speak spanish that blows my mind. I love it! Spanish is really a cool language. Also it is so much easier than english. Every Tuesday we teach english classes in the church, and it is so hard teaching english, but it is super cool teaching these people english.

This week we had a baptism. Not us, but the other missionaries here in Sevilla. It was super cool to see Fernando Arias getting baptized. We were hoping to get two baptisms this week but we haven't had any success this week. But if we play our cards right, we might get four baptisms in March! We are just going to keep working hard and hope that all of our hard work, diligence, patience, and obedience gets us there. I know that it is not the easiest thing, missionary work, but it is so worth it! I love the work and just hope that we can be the best missionaries that we can be.

Cool story for this week. Colombia has a weird sense of a good haircut, they are like military haircuts. Super short on the sides and then tall on top. Its ok I guess. I mean they are not that bad, I just miss my haircuts from home haha. They don't look that bad, we just look like policemen when we walk down the streets of Sevilla. Oh also the other day someone called me a Yankee. Thats a new one. haha

This week I have gone over a talk that was given to me by a friend before I left school and started preparing for my mission. I have kept that talk with me for about a year now. It really helps me focus on my purpose of a mission. The fourth missionary is a missionary who commits everything to serve the Lord. For me I ask myself, do I do the same thing? What can I do to be more like the fourth missionary? When I start doing things better like being more obedient, working on patience, and diligence. It helps me to be a better missionary. In turn, I learn so much! It has changed me and from now on, I will do whatever it takes to be the best missionary that I can be! I love this work and I know, that through the gospel we can truly be happy.

Have a good week ya Yankees.

Hiking mountains of Calarca


Saturday, February 20, 2016

This week was intense

We have done so many things this week that has helped grow my faith. This week we had a lot of investigators assist church with us. Which was great, we had like 5 or 6 people come. Also this week our district decided that we would fast together so we could have success this coming week. Needless to say it worked really well. It was amazing to see how much of a change it made for me during this week. Also I feel like my spanish is getting better and better. Which is really nice, I feel like I can finally teach really well and doing my best for my investigators grow their faith.

Just today we got to go hiking up the mountains in Calarcá. It was super cool, we drove up the mountain in these old jeeps and then hiked a lot. It was so much fun, also we all sat together eating our food when a chicken came running through the dining hall and came up and ate the fried chicken from one of the missionaries. It was so fun, we were all dying! This p day was a lot of fun. The only part I didnt like was the intense sun burn. It looks really bad. Its a straight line across my neck. I'll have to show you all a photo in the coming week. I don't think I have laughed so hard in my life. I'm having the time of my life. I love the mish so much. Also the fact that all of our hard work is paying off really helps. We have a super rocking investigator named Juan Sebastian. He has really been progressing well and he knows that the Book of Mormon is true! He has been reading and praying, and he has already assisted church with us once! All of this within about a week. That is amazing. Honestly amazing. Also we teach this lady named Angela Giraldo. She has come to church twice and has a ton of questions for us! Which I love. Its super fun to answer all of her questions and check in to see how she is doing.

I love it here in the mission. It has been tough at times but I know that I can do it. The mission really helps you to rely on the Lord. I don't know if I could do this without him. I have been so blessed in so many ways. I hope you all have a good week. Just know that Elder Harris is thinking of you all, and I keep all of you in my prayers.

Elder Harris
February 15, 2016

No Aftershave

I remember before I left on my mission dad told me not to bring aftershave with me on my mission. "You´ll just buy it on your mission." It´s actually really sad, aftershave doesn't exist in Sevilla. I am really bumbed out about that. I have to shave every day now because my hair is growing so much faster than before the mission. Its kind of cool, but can be a pain having to shave every day. Oh well, rules are rules. I have to shave so much more than my companion. I don't think I have even see him shave once. I just think he has baby skin haha.

This week really had its ups and downs. The bad news first. We had to drop a lot of our investigators this week. A lot of baptismal dates fell through and a lot of people are just not simply progressing. It can get pretty frustraiting when our investigators are so close and then the get cold feet. So right now we don't have a lot of baptismal dates but thats okay. Because we have a golden investigator right now. Her name is Angela Giraldo. She is in her mid 20´s and she is really interested in our message. I am so glad that she is coming to church and is reading the Book of Mormon more and more. I love teaching all of our investigators and seeing them have a change, little by little. So the good news is we have a lot of time to look for new people and get some new investigators. I love going and talking to all of these people. At times it can be a little frustrating not understanding the language100 percent, but I'm close. Luckily having a fluent peruvian helps a lot.

Before I left on my mission and when I was a student at BYUI a girl told me that a mission is exactly what I needed, and that I would fill out more. She was absoluetly right. I dont know how she knew that that is exactily what would happen to me on my mission. And its only been about 5 months and I have filled out so much haha. Also the latinos tell me that I eat so much, that is good and bad haha. I love the colombia food, it is usually the same food, but I love it. Lots of rice, beans, avocado, fried bananas, meat, soup. Yeah, also colombia has this super cool drink called Panela. It is like a brick of sugar cane and you put it in water and it dissolves into this awesome drink. Panela is amazing.

One thing that I have learned to love and appreciate more and more each day is the Atonement of Christ. He loves us so much that he bled from every pour for me, you, and everyone on this earth. I learned that he didn't want to be crucified, he didn't want to have to suffer all the pains of the world. But he was obedient to his Father. Not my will, but thine be done. He was obedient and loved us so much that he atoned, suffered, and died for us. Not only that he suffered for our sins, but our pains, afflictions, and our sorrows. I can't ever be more grateful for his example of obedience and love for others. Every night before I go to bed, thinking about the atonement and how much God and Christ love us, is incredible. They love us more than anyone in the world. I imagine how can anyone love me more than my parents haha, but he does. Remember who you are, loved sons and daughters of a King. Always remember who you are. Have faith in him, also with part of your faith, use it in actions. Pray, read, go to church. If we do these basic things daily, it will transform us over time. Even though it seems repetitive at times, but really they should become a part of who we are. I feel like there has been a change in me since I´ve been out on my mission. We always have right now to say, I want to change. Thats what is so great about the atonement. Not only can we repent of our wrong doings, but we can be changed. I love that, and sharing that with people is really an amazing gift.

Email ya Elder if you want to know more haha Have a good week.

February 8, 2016
My comp


perrito...purple tongue

Machete!


The Colombian Weeknd

Remember the Weeknd from the U.S? For those of you who don't know the Weeknd is a famous singer, at least he was before I left haha. We have the colombian equivilent here. His name is Romeo Santos. Its like if the Weeknd was colombian it would he him. Give a listen to him, its all in spanish but it is pretty good. Let me know what you all think.

As for my companion and I, we have had a really good week this week. We taught a lot of lessons and we have quite a few progressing investigators. At times the mission gets a bit tough with the language and everything, but I love having something I can always improve on. Also I haven't realized how blessed I have been to have latino companions. There are people from my MTC group who have only had gringo companions and dont know the language that well. I guess the struggle does really pay off. I would actually rather have a latino companion over a gringo companion, I love the humor of Elder Mejia. The other day I was in the shower and we have this little vent thing next to the shower. He leaned over and tried to take a photo of me while I was showering but only got my head. I got revenge after. When he was in the shower I got a funny photo of him in the act of noticing the camera. I was dying. Also I don't think I have every smiled this much in my life. I am really happy right now. I love the mission. At first the mission was a sacrifice. But it is so worth it. Man there is nothing else I would rather be doing than serving the people of Colombia.

This last week we had changes and now we have a new missionary in our apartment. He is a Chileno. Reminds me of Colin only because he is from Chile and that is where he served haha. But he is really cool, and also really serious. He is really obedient and knows a lot of the doctrine. I have only known him for two days but hopefully I will get to know him more in the coming weeks. I thought that serving a mission in South America was going to be easy. I thought I would have a lot of baptisms and lots of success. Apparently the church isn't that strong here in Medellin. And it is hard to have lots of baptisms. So when we do have baptisms it is awesome, knowing all of our hard work has payed off and knowing that these people can receive many blessings is amazing. We haven't had lots of baptisms lately, but we hope to have a few baptisms in about 2 weeks. I am so looking forward to those days, hopefully people can keep the commitments and attend church.

This week I would like to share a quick spiritual message with you guys. This week I have learned and applied a lot more in my life about faith. What does faith mean? And how can I grow my faith? Faith is believing and knowing in things which we can't see but we know that are true. For me, sometimes I feel like I can do this mission on my own. I can learn the language by myself and I can do the missionary work by myself. But that is not true, when I put my faith in him. I can do more than I ever could on my own. I can tell you right now if it wasn't for his help there is no way I could actually communicate with the people here. Really I feel like being humble is the key. When we realize that he is willing to help us when we have weeknesses he will give us strength. My favorite scripture is Ether 12:27. Remember to be humble, and if you are humble, he will turn your weeknesess into strengths. I know that is true, especially in missionary work. I hope you are all doing well. Just know that I am fine, and that I am getting fed really well here. The other day I ate literally a mountain of rice. Took Elder Mejia and I 45 minutes to eat it all. So much food, it is good, but I am getting fat hahah. Also people have asked me what is the weirdest thing you have eaten on your mission. For me it was probably drinking goat milk from goats. It was probably the nastiest thing in the world. I don't recommend drinking Colombian goat milk.

Chao
February 1, 2016





A Baptism

So we have a baptism this coming week, but it is not mine. The other elders here in Sevilla have a baptism on Saturday. I am so excited for them. Today we have our 6 week changes and Elder Covarrubias won't be here to get his first baptism which is sad. But it is all alright, he is headed to the coast to be a zone leader. Crazy, he just finished his 12 week training and is already going to be a zone leader.

Anyways this week for Elder Mejia and I was really good. We taught a lot of lessons and have a lot of new investigators. This week we have been focusing on the Lopez family, it's the family in the photo with all the girls and little kids. They are all really interested in listening to us, but struggle with applying our lessons to their life. We hope that they can continue to keep commitments and work towards a baptismal date. Its crazy Luisa is like 17 years old and has a child. It is normal in Colombia for young girls to have children. It is kind of sad, also practically all of the families we teach are families of women. Hopefully we can work more to have a more male audience and help the corrupt men of Sevilla. Also one of our investigators left to Cali, a city a little more southern from Sevilla. But now we are teaching his parents, his dad is a less active member, and his wife is not a member. They love listening to us and love the missionaries, we hope that they will have a desire to change and hopefully get them back to activity soon. We didnt get any baptisms this transfer, but we hope to get some baptisms here in the following 6 weeks. The work is going well, the Colombian kids swarm me in the streets and demand me to pick them up. Its funny because we are really not suppose to handle children. Im a lot more comfortable with the language, and I can communicate with the people pretty easily now. Also I am adjusted to eating all of the food. We eat so much food for lunch it is crazy. When I was at BYUI there was a girl that told me going on a mission would help me grow out. She is definetly right about that. I feel like I am filling out and hopefully not too fat. Thats what our daily exercise is for haha Have a good week in the snow, I'll be enjoying it here in the nice 80 degree weather that is Colombia.

Elder Harris
January 25, 2016




There's Cats Everywhere

This week was very eventful. We have been very busy this week. We had a lot of appointments and had really good discussions, but non of our investigators made it to church. I was disappointed to say the least. But elder Mejia and I have really figured out our teaching pattern and we work really well together. I hope that I don't change yet considering I just got a new companion. Also today we head to Armenia for our zone meeting and then we get to play soccer as a zone. I feel like the best thing I have bought so far was my micro soccer ball. We use that thing so much it is probably my favorite thing we have in our entire apartment. So every day we get to have lunch with members and it works out really well. The only thing that was bad is that there is this member who has like 8 cats in his house. He was making food for us and I am pretty sure all of the cats were in the kitchen when he was making lunch for us haha. He has a ton of cats. He is a good guy and helps us a lot when we go teaching.

This week I have been watching this devotional given my Brad Wilcox. It is titled the grace of Christ is sufficient. I love it, it talks a lot about how we dont need to always feel like we are falling short, but that we can be content with progress. It talks a lot about there are only two options, perfection or quitting. That is so not true. Perfection might be our ultimate goal, but for right now we can be content with progress. Also we dont need to worry about feeling like we arent doing our best, but that If we can rely of Christ, in his perfect strength, we can accomplish great things. Always remember to put your faith and trust in him, and he will strengthen you in times of difficulty. I dont have a lot of time to write this week. Elder Mejia is pushing us to get to Armenia. Things are good here. Have a good week ya Americans.

Élder Harris
January 18, 2016





Mommy

I have been having some problems with the battery in my camera so I don't have a lot of pictures this week. I´ll make up for it with a lot of good stories, and man do I got a lot of them for you guys. So we were walking to get lunch last Monday when there was this man without any legs and he was in this three wheel wheelchair thing with hand peddles. This guy looked very poor and dirty but had the brightest smile. As we were walking there was a big group of pigeons in the road. This man dashed right into this group of pigeons. The funniest part was that he wasn't fast enough to scare them to fly away, so they all just walked REALLY fast in the opposite direction. It was funny to watch this old man chasing down a pigeon speaking in giberish spanish while in a three wheel wheel chair haha. I dont know why but me and Elder Covarrubias were dying. That made my day.

Another day Elder Mejia and I were out proselyting in an area that was really steep. It was super steep and we walked really slow getting to our next appointment. I saw a rock and tried to kick it really hard and see if it would make it all the way down the hill. I missed it and hit it only enough that it would go a few inches. I was suprised to find out that it kept going and it went SUPER fast all the way down the hill. It was super funny and was going down so fast that there were people in the street we were trying to tell them to watch out for this rock going down the street at the speed of light haha.

Another story, we were in an appointment with someone new who was interested in our message. She had a daughter that was about 3 or 4 years old and let her use my daily planner to draw in a note taking section. She wrote everywhere and everytime she would ask me a question she would call me Mommy. I would keep telling her I am not your mommy haha and it was hard trying to teach with this little girl constantly calling me mommy while Im trying to talk about our church haha. There was another lesson when out of nowhere I got really bad hiccups, it was almost impossible to talk in spanish to her and have hiccups at the same time. I tried to say something really powerful in spanish and when it was my turn to speak my hiccups went away and I was able to say what I needed to say with power and conviction. It was a crazy experience, I didnt expect my hiccups to go away but they did. It was a really good experience.

Another day there were these old ladies carrying these big piles of wood to their house which was a long ways away, about half a mile. Elder Mejia and I helped these ladies carry their wood and they were so glad that we were there to help them. Afterward they invited us in their house to have coffee with them. I just stared at Elder Mejia and we declined and continued walking home. One other quick thing, I have been asked a hundred times if I have a girlfriend. They all are super interested in my personal life. I tell them that for two years we don't really focus on that and we work on sharing this message with people. They call me crazy and say that I am a liar and that I secretly do have a girlfriend and I just don't want to tell them about her hahahah. Its really funny.

On a little more of a serious side I want to say how Ive been feeling about being in the mission and how important my role is in this great work. I am literally a representative of Jesus Christ, and I need to help people in caring for the ways that Christ would. For me that hit me hard that when they see me, they should see me as a representative of him. I have been working really hard this week to be a good example of Him. Every day I do my best to work my hardest so that when I go to bed at the end of the day, knowing that I did everything I could that day to help someone in need, or someone that would need my service. So now I do everything I can to make sure that people have a good impression of me, and that I am here to help others partake of this great blessing I have in my life, the gospel. I try my best everyday to invite others to listen to us and experiment on our words. Elder Mejia and I have had a lot of success this week with lots of investigators coming to church and lots of people having the desire to be baptized. We struggled a bit these last few weeks with the holidays, but our hard work this last week has really payed off. We really are working hard, and hoping that we can keep this up.

The weather is good, the gente is good, and the food gets you fat which is good I guess. Just glad I get that half hour in the morning for exercise haha

Élder Harris
January 11, 2016