Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Big News!

Holy cow.  I have news for you.

and 10 minutes to do so.

So here's the deal . . .

I got transferred to a new area.  I didn't do anything wrong, but now I'm the district leader in Fontana, Formosa with Elder Zivic.

The area I'm now in doesn't have hardly anything.  I thought that Argentina was pretty civilized . . I thought wrong.  My new area is the closest thing I can get to camping without actually being in the moutains.  We went to the cyber yesterday to email and waiting for 30 minutes for the main page to load.  So don't expect to hear much from me over the next couple of weeks.  We got permission from the President to write to you guys today.  Oh, and I seriously won't be sending any pics - I'm not even going to try.  I'll send them when I get to an area with good internet connections.

We will be white washing this area and Elder Zivic and I don't hardly know anything.  The district has 3 sets of Elders (including us).  They are from Chile, Argentina, Peru and Elder Haselton is from American Fork.  :) haha!  So I guess I can speak English with one person!

So to sum up the week . . .

Monday we had the awesome mission activity!
Tuesday we had Christmas Eve and worked a fool!
Wednesday was Christmas and I got to talk to you!  :)
Thursday I got a call from President and was told that I'm leaving.
Friday I sent from 4 in the morning until 11 in a collectivo (without A/C) or waiting in a terminal.
Saturday we worked.
Sunday my companion was sick . . . and we didn't leave the pench all day.
Yesterday, still sick and we didn't get to do too much.
. . . which brings me to now.

Holy cow.  If you can't bear testimony of the gift of tongues . . . I can.  Having to talk to my companion, the ZLs and the district 24/7 in Castellano and understanding and speaking somewhat fluently . . . it's crazy.  Seriously it is.

I've never prayed so much in my life, or with as such strength.  But I feel like the spirit is teaching me new things each day and this opportinity to serve has taught me a lot in the past few days.

I'm planning on buying something special for about $120 - so if you could put some cash on my card.  I'm going to be taking out abou $170 next week for travels and such.  To get here from VA is cost me about 400 pesos so I went with out cash for a few days.  The mission is going to reimburse me, but I have to travel a lot in the next few weeks and having a little extra cash is always nice!!!  :)  Plus, everything in my city is almost double the price since it's in the middle of nowhere!  But I promise I'm not going to go crazy on buying food.  I've got my oatmeal, rice and noodles.  :)

Gotta run!!
Please put more money on my card!!!
I love you guys!  I'm not sure when I will write again, but I'll try my hardest to write this Monday!!!

-Elder Harris  :)

Happy New Year and Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Missionaries Know the Answer


So - we will get to talk on Christmas day for sure - but to be honest, I don't know where we will be calling from or if we will be able to Skype.  A member told us that one of the local cybers will be open on Christmas that has webcams - but we'll have to check that out.

On Monday when we go to Resistencia it will just be a day trip.  We have to catch the bus at 4 in the morning to get there - but whatever works!  I don't know if I'll have time to email next week so don't be surprised if I don't.  I'm excited to see everyone.  President is just the man.  I seriously love him to death.  Super good guy.

As for my Christmas package - I don't think that I'll get it for at least another month or so.  And transfers are this week.  Today we're going to Sanez Pena and then tomorrow morning E. Humphries gets on a bus to Resistencia and will be on his way home.  I will be staying in Sanez Pena until my new companion arrives . . . so I'll probably work in a trio all day on Tuesday.  Then I'll pick up my new companion and head back to Villa on Wednesday.  If I do get transferred I will have to come back to Villa and get all my stuff - so let's hope I don't.

Haha!  You're jealous of this heat?  Just imagine that type of heat without AC.  Just count your blessings!  haha

So news for this week:

Monday:  Ther was a little hiccup with the policia here and they went on strike.  That being said, we weren't allowed to leave the pench all day on Tuesday and were required to come in early every day this week.  I'm a little bummed about it because we didn't get to work as much as we would have like to but when safety is your first priority . . .

Tuesday:  We had to stay in all day so we cooked up some empanadas and played some futbol!  E. Humphries kicked the ball over our wall and we had to go get it.  These huge dogs just about ate us!!  But is was a good day - kinda weird having 2 p-days in a row.

Wednesday:  We had lunch at the branch president's house.  Then we walked to Rosa's to see her but she wasn't home and told us to teach her sons since they were there.  We also met this super sweet lady named Rosana.  Her brother and mom are both members and she's just hilarious!  When we sat down with her and asked her if she had any questions for us she said, "you know, I really want to know why there are so many churches but only one God."  So we were like "Well, let us tell you!!!"  It was a great lesson and shw told us that she would come to church on Sunday.  We were a little disappointed when she didn't show up.  :(

Thursday:  We had to go find a child!  haha!  The sister's have this little girl who was getting baptized and we had to go do the interview.  We didn't know that she lived on the complete other side of Villa Angela - like 25 blocks away!  So when we finally got to her house, her brother said that she was at a friend's house - so being the persistent young men that we are - we went to find her at the friend's house.  They were there playing like 8 or 9 year old girls do - so while E. Humphries was doing the interview, I got to chat with one of her friends and I told her to guess how old I am.  She started to giggle and said "Ochenta!" (80) and I just sat there for a second and then said, "Wait! No way!?!"  She thought I was hilarious - or at least I think that she thought I was.  haha!  Funny gringo stories.

We ended up walking to the other side of the city to see the Monzon family and the mom asked us the same question that Rosana did.  She was like dumbfounded asking why there are so many churches - but luckily missionaries know the answer to that one.

Friday:  It was the best day of the week by far!  We went to Las Brenas to do another baptismal interview.  Long story short, on our way over there our collectivo broke down.  Yup.  Right in the middle of Argentina!  I have pics to prove it. 




So we ended up sitting there right in the middle of no where waiting for another collectivo.  On the bright side there were these 2 little kids that were probably 3 or 4 years old and were the cutest little kids ever!  One of the boys kept waking me up so I kept giving him pictures of Christ.  He would run to his mom and then come back for more.  It was pretty fun!

So when we finally got to Las Brenas we had about an hour to do the interview and get to the pench since we had to be in by 7.  Elder Taylor and I went to work while Deniston and Humphries went to do the interview.  So while Taylor and I were working we walked past this guy with only 1 leg and me, being the overly energetic missionary that I am I say, "Hola!  que tal, or como anda" to everyone I see!  So I decided to say "Como anda!" to this old man with one leg.  What I later realized it that "Como anda"  literally translates to "How's it walking?" and they take it is "How's it going?"  So I asked "How's it walking?" to a one legged man.  Cool . . .   After I realized what I said, we seriously spent the next 10 minutes cracking up about it. 

It was also E. Deniston's birthday so we stopped and bought his some dulces, alfajores and a Coke to celebrate.  We took some sick pictures and spent E. Humphries last weekend here with the ZL's.









I couldn't sleep that night and spent a lot of time thinking.  I think that since we'd been talking about Humphries going home and see his family it kinda made all of us feel pretty trunky.  I realized how much I love all of you and how much you all love me.  I thought about how often I neglected or didn't appreciate that love as much as I should have.  So I guess that I'm sorry - and thankful.  You guys really are the best.  Thanks for everything you do for me. 

Saturday:  We got up early to catch the 7 a.m. collectivo.  We had about 50 people on a 20 seater bus and since I'm a man and wear the name of Christ on my chest I ended up standing.  I was so tired!!!  But it was alright.  But right when we walked in our door, we got a call saying that the baptismal font had been running al night and that we had to go turn it off.  So we walked the mile and a half to the church to shut the water off and ended up draining, cleaning and refilling the font for Margerena's baptism. 

For lunch, we ate with the Gomez family and has some asada with them.  It was so good, probably some of the best steak I've had on my mission.  After our companion study we went to see Mercedes who told us she would come to church (she didn't) and then had to run to the baptism because we were the witnesses!

I was glad that we had to be home early that night.  :)

Sunday:  We went to church and it was great!  The district president came and told us that we need to find more men for this branch!  And it's so true - we need more good men everywhere!  E. Humphries and I took a Sunday nap and went to visit a few more people to finish up his missionary service.

It was by far one the craziest, hectic weeks of my mission.  But like always, you gotta bounce!

I love guys and I'm super pumped to chat with you on Christmas!  I'll be sure to find out what were going to do and let you know at some point.

Love you!
XOXOXOXOXOXO

Elder Harris

Monday, December 9, 2013

It's Been a Hard Week

Sounds like things for you this week weren't so perfect.  To be honest, I've had a hard week too, but if it's not hard, then how do we get stronger?  Compare it to the gym . . .

We're on a different schedule now in our mission.  We go to bed at 11 and wake up at 7.  Then we study during siesta which is the hottest part of the day.  We just started doing this a week ago and I'm surprised at how nice those extra 30 minutes of sleep are!  :)

To answer your question, I do think that it pretty cool that I've been to Nauvoo before.  I just think about all of my blessings every day here.  I can't believe how much the Lord has truly blessed our family.  Let me help you count your blessings:  Our hose doesn't flood when it rains, our shower has water pressure, the water is clean and safe to drink, our home has an HVAC system, food is good in America!  I could go on and on and on . . .

Bueno.

As for this week:

Monday:  We had DTR with some of our investigator that haven't been keeping their commitments too well.  We had an awesome chat with each of them and decided to keep teaching them and then big surprise - they didn't come to church on Sunday.  So I think that we're really going to be saying good-bye to them for a couple of weeks.

Tuesday:  We met 2 awesome guys.  The first one is Oscar and he let us teach him the same lesson that we had taught his girlfriend, Victoria earlier (the Restoration) and he loved it.  He even told us that he would definitely pray about it!

The second guy is Fabian.  He's the son of one of our less active members.  He told us about his challenges and is truly humble and prepared to change.  We talked a lot about the atonement and help him to overcome his trials. 

That night we had dinner with a member who cooked us some bad pizza.  E Humphries and I got sick and enjoyed a little South American Surprise . . .

Wednesday:  We spent the day visiting people like normal.  We saw the Monzon family and they're doing great!  We also saw Maria (the little girl who was baptized) and she just beams!  I love it!

Thursday:  It was HOT.  Like 115 in the morning.  The Zone Leaders came and we did divisions so I worked with E. Deniston in VillaAngela.  We met this family of girls! They were this super awesome, sweet family.  We then jumped on a bus to Las Brenas and while we were there, we met a convert that knew Elder Beach!!!  They were so pumped that I knew Beach too!  We talked with them about the temple and the spirit that we feel when we go to the temple.  It got me feeling a little trunky.  It's seriously the biggest blessing to have 6 temples within an hours drive of our house!

We also ran into a couple of girls (we call them snakes) who tried to invite us in to "dance to a song or two" but we just peaced out.  I'll be honest, it was one of the WORST pick-up lines I've ever heard . . .

We were also guided by the spirit to this lady who had been baptized two years ago in Buenos Aries and had recently moved into our area.  Long story short - the spirit was burning.

I learned a lot that day from Elder Deniston.  He acts a lot like Tyler so it felt like I was following my big brother around.  :)

Friday:  Elder Deniston and I continued to work as we came back to Villa Angela.  There's only 1 bus that goes to and from each day.  It leaves LB at 7 a.m. and leaves VA at 3 p.m.  We also met a girl that day named Daniella.  She was pretty cool and later in the week we taught her mom the Restoration. 

Saturday was a rough day.  I remember Brother Dickman telling me that there will come a point when you will cry because you can't speak the language and help those you want to help.  For him, he was in the bathroom.  For me, it was on the front steps of the church.  It was one of the longest days of the week - and I'll just leave it at that.  :)

Sunday: was really great!  We had an awesome day at church and I only fell asleep for a little bit.  And then we met this little boy named Alejandro who was as cool as can be!  Oh, and we cooked some BBQ chicken pizza for lunch.  Ya.  That good.

My last story is another breast feeding story - funny story of the week!

So we're walking back home last night and this moto passes us.  There are 2 young women and a baby on it that is crying hysterically.  As they pass by I say something like "Awww!"  And E. Humphires says to me, "don't worry, he's just hungry."  We both just laughed because everyone here "feeds" in public.  So we keep walking a while longer and we notice that they have pulled over and switched drivers.  As they passed us again, Humphries was right - the girl in the back was feeding the baby right in front of us as they drove by.  Humphries just looked at me and said, "told ya so!"

It's raining really hard today, so no pictures because I didn't bring my camera!

Love you!

-Elder Harris

Monday, December 2, 2013

Sometimes You Just Have a Little Mud on Your Shoes



Bueno!!  I'll try to answer some of your questions:

1.  Yes, it's hot here!!!  But I'm surviving.  It has also been raining like made and our apartment only floods in the huge storms.  Luckily we didn't get flooded this week.  :)

2.  Thank you so much for sending the package!  I don't really think that I'll get it until like February but I guess I'll get it when I get it!  I did find out that all the missionaries are going to Resistencia on the 23rd to celebrate Christmas with the Heyman's.  They're so dope.  I wish I could explain!

3.  I'm understand the language - at least everything that is gospel related.  But when people get talking about anything besides something I learned in Spanish 1 or the MTC - I'm lost.  But it's alright, it's slowly coming.  This last Sunday I only slept in Sunday School instead of all 3 hours . . so I figure that I'm doing better than before!  Progress is all that the Lord asks of us.  :)

4.  I haven't bought any rain boots yet because I haven't found any but I did get a hat! 

5.  The rain came through the window and under the door.  Clearly you an tell that our apartment isn't sealed up very well.  :)



6.  Mosquitoes.  We found this really awesome thing at the super market that you burn in this little ring thing and it keeps the mosquitos away.  So now were not getting eaten alive all night!!  Thank Heavens for modern technology . . .

This week in Villa Angela was interesting:

Monday:  I made a poster . . .  every morning I wake up to this HUGE poster of Christ. It sets my mind right and helps keep me focused on my objective.. I love it!



 

Tuesday:  We had lunch with Hermana Garcia and then took off for Las Brenas.  We got there and the ZL's still weren't back so we had dinner with a member there and then went to work without knowing where we were going.  To be honest, we wandered around trying to figure out where we were for a while.  We ended up on this long dirt road - so I had to pull out my harmonica because I felt like a cowboy walking down the boulevard of broken dreams!  haha  (man, 7th grade was tight)

 

 


Wednesday:  We had a training by our Zone Leaders:  Taylor and Deniston.  They did a great job!  Afterwards we got some lunch and headed back to Villa.  It had rained a bit so it was super muddy out and we were walking down this super long road.  I thought that one side of the road might be less muddy than the other so I was on one side and Humphries was on the other.  I finally decided that maybe his side was better than mine so I started wading across this mud and had to cross this sewer line on this log to get to dry ground.  Well . . . with the mud on my shoes and my overly ecstatic charisma - I slipped.  Yup.  RIGHT INTO THE SEWER!  It took me a few seconds to rock climb my way to dry ground. 




Once I wasn't mud skating we decided to go "clap" (we clap outside out houses to let them know that we're there instead of knocking) this house right in front of us. The nice lady let us in and we had an awesome first lesson with her.  During the closing prayer she started to cry and continued to cry for at least a minute and a half after we closed the prayer.  All she said was "I feel the Spirit" and so we explained to her who when we feel the Spirit we know that God is happy with the things that we're doing.  It was an awesome was to end the night.

Thursday: Happy Turkey Day!  We ate tacos.  It was probably the worst day for the mosquitos too.  I'm grateful for a lot of things - but these freaking mosquitos aren't one of them!  Haha

Friday:  We had meetings with the branch that felt like all day.  It just takes so long to walk everywhere so we didn't have a lot of time to work but we did have a few good lessons.  It was a hard day.

Saturday:  Probably the best day of my week!  We met with this sister whose husband has recently passed away.  I understand that her husband was like a pioneer for the church in Villa Angela but all of her kids are pretty anti.  They are constantly sending preachers to her house to explain to her why the Mormons are wrong.  We told her that until all these people take Moroni's challenge and pray to know if the Book of Mormon is true then they can't say that we're wrong.  We spent the rest of the time talking about Joseph Smith and his influence and desire to obey the Lord.  It was a super good lesson.

So funny story.  Later that day we visited a family and I think they were all drunk.  This one girl in particular was smoking, drinking and breast feeding all at the same time!  Great combo right?  I was pretty bugged but she was telling us that she knows the Bible better than we do and during our little chat she asked us if we knew who "Jennifer" was.  So, me, being my smart gringo self said, "Oh!  That's my Mom!"  The whole family just looked at me and was like "What did you say?"  They then explained to me that this one time they heard that Jennifer was actually Lucifer's real name!  Haha!  But don't worry mom, I told them that you weren't nearly as bad as Satan.  :)

Sunday:  We had testimony meeting.  I think that I've finally figured out why we have testimony meeting each month.  It's to check our progress on our testimonies!  It gives us a chance to look back on the past month and find out where our testimonies have been strengthen/weakened.  It gives us time to reflect on what we need to do to improve them!

So I got up and bore my testimony like the proudest gringo around.  I spoke about my testimony of Joseph Smith - that's what I feel like that's where my testimony has increased this month.  I know that Joseph was a Prophet called of God.  That no man would suffer what he went through if he wasn't called of God. 

I've been studying my scriptures like crazy this week.  I feel like I'm starting to learn who Christ is, who my Father in Heaven is and the importance of the Holy Ghost in our lives. 

I love you guys!
I miss you like crazy!

Keep the Faith,

Elder Harris

Monday, November 25, 2013

Storms & Conferences


We're at the crappy cyber this week so I won't be able to send pictures today.  Next week we'll go to the good one and I'll send some.

Last Monday night a big story came through Villa Angela and it was seriously like F5 quality.  The storm completely flooded our apartment and we stayed up until 3 trying to salvage all of our stuff and get the inch of water out of our pench.  Oh, and to top it off - whenever it thunders here the city kills the power.  So we did all of this with that little flashlight that Ty gave me.  That little thing is seriously a life saver.  But hey, we're alive and all is well.

On Tuesday we went to work and right as we stepped outside our gate we noticed that every single road in Villa Angela was under water.  So we went for a swim all day and got rejected all day.  We waded in water up to our knees for the first half mile or so before we finally got to some dry groud.  We seriously tried all day to find people all day but everyone would just say, "Oh, it's too wet today. or Maybe another day."  By 8:00 we were pretty frustrated.  We were tired, wet, cold and not having any success.  So we sat down and had one of those "Why is this so hard" conversations.  Then we remembered that we needed to pay our electric bill so we ran down to the place and they said that we had to wait until tomorrow.  It was just our luck that day, we even got rejected by the electric company!  So we decided to just sit on the curb and just say hi to people for a minute.  A few people passed by and this this one boy said hi to us.  We said what's up and didn't think too much of it.  About a minute later he came running back and sat and talked with us for a few minutes.  He told us how he wanted to learn about the church and that he wanted to change his life.  It was awesome!  I guess blessings do come after a little patience . . .

Wednesday wasn't my favorite day of the week.  I'd rather walk in a foot of water than mud.  The day after is always a strictly mud day since most of the water has been dried up.  So we walked in mud all day - actually we slipped and waddled in mud all day!  We also had a few lessons and it was a lot of fun!  We didn't have much choice, so we just made it fun!

Thursday we got up at 4 and jumped on a bus to Saenz Pena.  We had a multi zone conference and it was awesome!  President Heyman is a boss!  He talked to us about a lot of things I've been thinking about lately.  Such as "What would Jesus do? Say? Think?"  I know it's a quote from Transformers . . . but if we stop and think about the literal meaning of the quote, it's very profound.  How would Jesus teach people about the Restoration of the Gospel?

Friday was our last day to work for the week, so we got to work!  We spent a lot of time visiting the best people in Villa Angela!  We saw the Monzon family and talked with them about prayer - they're just the best. 

Saturday we took off for Seanz Pena for the District Conference.  We got there early so Humphries and I walked over to ChangoMas! (It's pretty much the Argentina version of Walmart.)  We bought some food and I got some peanut butter!  I was a little disappointed because it tastes nothing like the stuff we get in the states.  haha!

That night at the conference, President spoke on 3 things:
1.  Attending the temple and how important that is.
2.  How strengthening our testimony of the Book of Mormon will strengthen us.
3.  He then quoted President Hinkley and asked "What's the difference between the temple and the chapel?"  The Answer:  One dedicatory prayer.  Think about that.

He later told a story about two Elders from his mission that had 8 people lined up to be baptized!  So the Sunday before they fasted that the Lord would help them make this a spiritual experience for the people that were going to be baptized.  They did that and spent all day on Friday cleaning the font and that night realized that they didn't have enough baptismal clothes for 8 people!  So they spent all morning on Saturday running around to the other chapels trying to find clothes for all of them.  Then about an hour before the baptism they remembered that they had forgotten to fill the font!!!  They were the only ones with keys to chapel so they busted back to start filling it so they wouldn't have to delay the baptisms too much but when they opened the doors the font was already full.  President Heyman testified that this is the Lord's work, and He wants it done."

Sunday was just a good day.  We got a chance to sit down with President and have an interview.  We chatted for a few minutes and he told me some very insightful things about my role in this mission and our purpose as missionaries. 

I hope that Dad can share with his missionaries that the people who are baptized will have a chance to make it to the Kingdom of God.  But the people who have never been baptized by the CORRECT authority DON'T have a chance. 

President talked again at the conference and so did his wife.  It was very spiritual because a year ago today, Sister Heyman was just learning to walk again.  And I think that my life as a missionary an be hard sometimes?

That's about it for the week!  We spent a lot of time on busses and with the other Elders.  President Heyman is a good guy.

Have a good week!
I love you all!
La paz sea el viaje!!!!

Elder Harris

Monday, November 18, 2013

Maria's Baptism & Finding People to Teach



Hi Mom!

First things first.  Braeden has a beard now?  What's up lumberjack!  DOPE.

To answer some of your questions:

*For Christmas please send me more taco seasoning packets.  If you could send a bunch of those that would be chill.  I also want peanut butter, Nutella, sunflower seeds and CafĂ© Rio.  I also need another watch - something with a calculator on it would be great.  I could also use some easy recipies that I could cook with beef.

*What have I been eating?  Well I eat a lot of guiso.  It's like noodles, some type of meat (generally beef) and oil for sauce.  We have it about every time we eat with members.  At first I didn't like it very much, but I just eat a ton of it because they call me gordito.  Apparently calling people fat isn't an insult here!  :)

*We use pesos.  I'm actually pulling about $85 for this week from my card because we're going to San Pena and I don't want to get stranded with no cash.

*The work is good!  People are too nice to say no to us so we usually teach the first lesson a ton!  As for how solid people are, it's usually pretty easy to tell the next time that we go to visit if they like us or not.  A lot of people here can't read, so it's hard to have people find a testimony of a book that they can't even read.  Haha!  So we just pray a lot and invite everyone to pray.

*The branch here is pretty solid.  There's an ex district president who lives in our branch and he's legit.  He knows how the church is supposed to work and keeps this branch going.

*Tell Kenzie that if she gets a boyfriend that I'm gonna kill him!  :)

So let's get started on this week:

Monday:  We had another super lax p day.  We just take naps during the siesta and it's nice just to relax a bit.  Later we had a meeting with all of the leaders about the work of salvation.  Long story short, they got to talking about some other random stuff and I didn't understand.  The room was hot and like always - I fell asleep.  I tell people that I'm praying.  :)  Then we went to check in with Maria and make sure that she had learned everything and was ready for her baptism.

Tuesday:  We had a lesson with Rosa and then we went to see the Monzon family.  When we were walking away this girl on a moto slapped me on the butt!  At first I thought it was Humphries - but I just laughed and let it be.  Then when we got to the Monzon's house, one of the girls came up a kissed me!  We were just sitting there talking about something spiritual and BAM!  I probably should admit that she's 9 and it was one of those "hello" kisses that the Argentines give everyone on the cheek but it still freaked me out.  I don't know how to tell her not to do that so I just shook her hand and said "Hola" and she joined in the lesson.

Wednesday and Thursday:  This week the mission had a goal for every companionship to find 16 new people to teach.  So Humphries and I went HAM on finding people and we got 19 this week!



Friday:  We had to pick up the Zone Leaders up from the terminal bright and early so they could come and do Maria's baptismal interview.  While E. Humphries and Taylor went out to do the interview I got to go on splits with E. Deniston.  We went to work and met this girl and her little 4 year old daughter who recently broke her elbow.  We had a awesome lesson with them and then went and taught a part member family all before lunch!

After lunch, we got to clean the baptismal font because it was DIRTY!  When we opened up the doors, there was like 3 feet of brown muck in the tub.  We spent a solid 2 hours scrubbing, trying to get it clean.  It wasn't "mom approved" but it was definitely missionary approved. 

Saturday:  We had Maria's baptism!  It was awesome!  Now we're going to work on getting her mom baptized.  E. Humphries got to baptize her and it was just a great experience.




Sunday:  We had church, did studies, and then spent the rest of the night walking.  The people we planned to visit weren't available and so we decided to go see Maria and congratulate her on the baptism, but it's like a 40 minute walk to her house so we had to hurry and didn't stay long.  On the way we decided that we would try to find one family to teach.  We have this little family and I cried while bearing my testimony.  It was terrible.  The little kids were all just looking at me trying to understand what I'm saying and wondering why I'm crying but the spirit was just so strong!  I seriously don't want to be remembered as the Elder who cried a lot . . .

Well, I didn't have as many crazy stories week but I'm pretty excited about the baptism and all the new people that we found to teach!

I love you guys!

Keep the Faith!
La paz sea el viaje!

Elder Harris









Monday, November 11, 2013

It's All Gibberish


This week has been good!  I don't know if I'm having culture shock but I have experienced some things that I've NEVER experienced before!  I hope you get a good laugh out it.  :)  We email from a local cyber (like a gaming facility) for about an hour.  Loading pictures are really slow so I don't know how many I will send. 

My companion is seriously hilarious!  All we do is joke around with each other.  He is pretty trunky, but we still work hard and he only says trunky things at night which helps!  haha

To answer your question about Villa Angela - well, we only have about 25 people that come to church and they're mostly women.  The living conditions are generally ok.  The people that live in our area pretty much only have dirt floors and sometimes they don't have roofs on their homes.  It's considered the "dangerous" part but don't worry I'm bigger than pretty much everyone.  And I'm not intimidated by a bunch of 13 year old boys who like to shoot rocks at us with their wrist rockets! 

There are a ton of dogs here but most of them have been beaten their whole lives (which is so sad) so they usually don't give us much trouble.  Every once in awhile we find an angry dog, but you just have to yell at it to go away, stomp your foot, or pick up a rock and it will run off.

Here's some pics of my home.  Sometimes the power goes out or our water doesn't work (like this morning) so we just rough it until it comes back on.  We shower with our flip flops on and without a shower curtain.  We don't have a microwave but we do have an air conditioner at night so we only sweat about 90% of the time so I can't complain too much!  Our kitchen, bedroom and bathroom are about as bid as my bedroom back home.





I still don't understand much of the language but I'm trying my best.  They speak complete gibberish sometimes and I don't understand a single word.  Church is especially difficult to stay awake.  It's hot, I don't understand anything and then BAM.  I'm out.  Two weeks in a row now.  Trust me, the branch loves me. 

The member have fed us 4 times and usually we eat some type of pasta smothered in oil with some type of meat.  We haven't eaten anything too weird yet.  They cook all their meat with the bones in it which is so weird to me so I'm always picking away the bones.  We also had pizza once and trust me if definitely wasn't Dominos!  haha

Fruit here is dirt cheap so we eat a bunch of fruit.  The juice here is LEGIT and we drink lots of Coke too because it's cheaper than water.  Literally 1/2 the price. 

So for this week:

Monday:  P-day was super chill.  We cooked up some tacos and then spent the rest of the day talking, listening to music and reading our scriptures.  It was pretty laid back.  We also did our laundry and then hung it out to dry.  Luckily our neighbors own a washing machine!

Tuesday:  We had district meeting with the hermanas.  Then we went for a walk and found a bunch of people to teach.  While trying to be guided by the spirit we decided to pick up 2 rocks, choose a side, and say a prayer for where we should go during siesta (worst time ever).  When we ended our prayer we pretty much played spin the bottle on where to go.  Both of our rocks landed in the same direction so we, like Lehi, took that as revelation from the Lord and went that way.


We ended up finding like 8 new investigators.

Later that night we met this lady who had recently broken her foot and has 11 children.  I don't know what it is, but this woman has something special about her.  She knows that I don't understand a word she says, but she has this spirit about her that I can't describe.  I keep thinking about her and just can't put my finger on what it is but we'll see how things turn out.

There is another lady named Norma that I met and her two children that are just the best.  They fed us dinner last night and I was in shock about how much of a sacrifice it must have been to feel us.  I'll tell you more about them later.

I'm going to jump to Friday:  We got an unexpected call that saying that we had to go to Las Brenas for a baptismal interview so we jumped on a collective and went with the Zone Leaders.  I went with Elder Taylor for the day and oh my gosh, it was the BEST EXCHANGE EVER!  He's just one of those guys that has 110% energy 120% of the time.  He's just the happiest guy ever - no joke!  So while we were out, we sat down to teach this guy that was a referral.  He had is wife or daughter with him, I'm not sure which, and she was holding a baby.  You know, it was pretty natural - but for some reason I started thinking about Mason Smith's letter a few months ago about how women just breast feed in public.  Not a minute later I was like "AH NO WAY!  She's not gonna . . . "  I thought wrong.  No joke, she just pulled her boob right out and let the baby go to town.  And yes, Elder Taylor and I were just sitting there like keep the spirit, keep the spirit . . . ! 

We worked our tails off that night and taught like 5 families before we went back to their pench.  It was super legit by the way and I walked in to use the bathroom and I noticed that there was 2 toilets.  So I asked him, "Why do you have 2 toilets in here?"  He told me it was a beday (I didn't know what it was, how to use it or how to spell it!)  Apparently he didn't either because he twisted a knob and got shot in the face with water by the beday!!!  Oh my goodness, we didn't stop laughing for like 20 minutes!!

Another weird thing about Argentina is that they LOVE American music.  They don't understand a word, but they LOVE it  Who knows . . . .

So another good story.  When we were leaving Las Brenas the next morning we got on this bus and there wasn't enough seats so we had to stand.  It wasn't a big deal, but long story short, I was looking out one of the window and saw this lady who was holding a baby.  I started thinking and hoping that she wasn't going to feed that kid and yup!  It happened again!!!  I think there is a conspiracy where they all think "Look!  There's an American!  Time to breast feed?"  I hope I get used to this soon. 

Our days are pretty much the same.  I start off by doing push ups on a blanket since our floor is pretty nasty.  We study, go eat lunch with a member or cook for ourselves and then we walk 5-10 miles visiting with people.  It's generally pretty hot and I sweat a lot.  I just have a big smile on my face so that the kids don't throw rocks at me.  I try to say HOLA to everyone I see and some people are caught off guard but it's alright.

Elder Humphries and I have picked up a new hobby of skipping rocks.  There is this little pond we walk past a few times throughout the day so we stop and have a little competition each day and I'm undefeated.  No biggie.

Love you guys!
Keep the Faith

Elder Harris

Monday, November 4, 2013

Argentina. Week One.


For starters . . . Argentina is different.  I'm not in Oklahoma any more!  haha  Nothing too weird, just different.  But I'm safe and I'm eating as much as a normal Argentine does.  I think I'll survive!

My new companion is Elder Humphries.  He's from California and on his last transfer.  We have 6 total missionaries in Villa Angela - 4 Sisters and 2 Elders.  President told us that the mission should be up to about 250 missionaries by December.

The area is cool and we walk everywhere.  Having a car in OK was the biggest blessing.  It's a challenge to carry food 10 blocks to the pension!  (apartment)  We have a branch here that has about 25-30 active members and they all just laugh at me! haha

As for the past two weeks, Oklahoma was full of a lot of good-byes and packing.  I got a new companion for a few days named Elder Larson.  He is honestly one of my favorite comps and I only served with him for 4 days!  Coolest kid ever.

On Monday morning, President Walkenhorst picked me up from my apartment and we drove down to the office and then to the airport.  I flew to Atlanta alone and met up with a bunch of guys from high school.  We took the red-eye to Buenos Aires and I didn't sleep all that well.  The next morning we met the President of the Buenos Aries North Mission who put us on a bus and took us to the church office building and then on a tour of BA. All I can say is that is was beautiful!

We sat around the office for the rest of the day until our flight to Resistencia at 8:00 p.m.  We went to the airport and sat around some more before we got to Resistencia at 10:45 that night.  We stayed in a hotel in the down town area and then had a big meeting the next morning about the mission.  After waiting in the bus terminal all day, I took a bus to Villa Angela where Elder Humphries and Elder Creer were waiting for me.  We walked to the pench and crashed only to wake up at 3 the next morning to get Elder Creer to the bus terminal . . .

Basically, I didn't sleep all week.

Thursday we went to work and everything was a complete daze to me!  I didn't understand a work anyone said and I just walked around with a huge smile on my face.  We taught a lesson to some random guy and met a little girl who is going to be baptized on the 16th!

Friday it rained.  And by rain - I mean DUMPED and we worked in it ALL DAY.  We got to a point where walking through knee high water wasn't even a big deal and we just let it happen.  Haha!  We pretty much got denied at every house until we met this lady.  So we sat in her chairs and left a little puddle behind.  :)

On Saturday we worked again and went out with one of the youth named Leo.  We pretty much walked around all day and didn't even try a house!  So my step count for the week is pretty high!

Sunday we went to church and I passed out in Sacrament Meeting, Sunday School and Priesthood.  It was hot and I didn't understand a word.  I kinda felt like I was 15 at Priesthood Session with dad again because - WHAM - I was asleep.  After church we did our studies and went to work!!!

A couple of funny things about Argentina:  They have something called siesta.  Pretty much everything closes at 12 until about 5.  And nobody works.  The streets are deserted and tracting is impossible because everyone is asleep! 

All they do is drink Mate.  I saw these little girls - maybe 6 years old - drinking Mate together out of a gallon size thermos.  It was hilarious!  People even try to drink it while they ride their motos!!  Another funny thing - motos.  Every has motos . . . haha!

Also we don't have a microwave and we do have showers!  However, our shower doesn't have a curtain.  So when we shower, the water gets all over the bathroom floor so we have to wipe it up!  Doesn't make sense to me. 

They also don't believe in spicy food.  I'm a little ticked about this, but the food is way good otherwise.  We had this thing call milanesa and it's like chicken nuggest on steroids!  WAY GOOD.  They don't sell peanut butter in Villa Angela and sliced bread is terribly expensive.

Schools are only in session for about 2-3 days a week and they only have class from 9-12 then it's siesta time and then I think they might go back from 2-5?

All the girls hit on us - they tell us how beautiful our eyes are.

That's all I can think of right now!  I'm alive!

I love you!
Keep the Faith!
Elder Harris

Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Portion from the Mission President and Elder Harris:

 Pictures from President Heyman's Instagram (Thanks!)
Dear Harris Family,

Sister Heyman and I are pleased to inform you that Elder Harris arrived in La Gran Mision Argentina Resistencia this evening.  We welcomed him to the mission, ate a small dinner and let him rest.  Today we had a small briefing of the fun facts and necessary information about the mission.  After that he met his new companion, Elder Humphries and they headed off for their area call Villa Angela II in the province of Chaco.

A mission is a wonderful experience filled with challenges and successes that strengthens the testimony of each missionary.  A great support that you as a family can give your son during his mission is uplifting letters.

It will be our privilege to work closely with Elder Harris here in Argentina.  We are blessed to have him join us in this mission to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Thank you for sharing your son with us.

Sincerely,

President Raymond S. Heyman
Mision Argentina Resistencia



Then from Elder Harris:

Familia!  Qu tal!

Well, after two days of sitting in airports I'm finally here.  We stayed in a hotel in downtown Resistencia last night and woke up to a rainstorm.  I didn't understand a word anyone said to me and it's very humbling.  I spoke with a worker at the airport for about 20 minutes and he made fun of me for about 10.  I laughed right along with him.

Buenos Aires is beautiful!  We drove to a church building yesterday and we got to see all of the stores with apartments stacked on top of them.  We also saw a few churches that were stunning.  Buenos Aires is a lot how I image Italy or Spain to look like. 

As for Resistencia . . . It looks like how you would imagine South America to look like.  :)  And I'll just leave it at that.  I just saw Elder Haselton and he said he's doing good!  There's apparently like 210 missionaries here with 30 more coming next week.  And it top it off it's hot here.  :)  While I was talking to the guy at the airport I asked about Resistencia.  He told me that it was hot, poor and had all of the ugly women.  I can only say that two of these are true so far.  :)

But hey, I love you guys and I will write to tell you more about my experiences on Monday!

La pas sea el viaje.

Vivir pur la fe.

Elder Harris
 

 

Monday, October 21, 2013

I Might Actually Be Able to Speak Spanish


All is well in Israel this week!  Rumsey and I are happy as clams and are working hard together.  This week will truly be full of good-byes.  I'm sad to leave this part of my life and all the wonderful people that are part of it!  I've needed all of the people that I've met and I'm glad to be able to call these people my friends and family.

This week was sweet!

Monday:  We just did the normal schedule.  It was a solid day.

Tuesday:  We went to go help some people move.  We ended up moving a kiln, a bunch of wardrobes, couches, tables and other stuff.  Something funny that happened was that they rented 2 trailers and when we got them to the back of the house, we opened one up and found out that it was full of someone else's junk!  He was pretty ticked.  Haha!

Afterwards, we had a good conversation with Daryl and then went to the Smith's house for dinner.  And oh my goodness, it got out of hand!  They got doorbell ditched while we were there and they left a bucket full of silly string on their porch.  So after we ate, Brother Smith picked up a can and started to shake it up.  Then he told all of us that we couldn't spray it in the house because it would make a huge mess and no joke within 3 seconds he was chasing his kids around the house spraying silly string!  Before long, everyone had one, including us, and had this huge war!  haha!  It lasted about 5 minutes and then we cleaned it all up - it was so worth it!  haha!

Wednesday:  Our service day.  We went and helped feed the homeless and then went on over to Hands of Jesus.  And you better believe that I got stuck on egg duty again!  Later we had dinner at the Morgan's and then we helped this lady move.  We had to wait a few minutes so we played on a swing for a little bit and took some pictures.






Thursday:  We went to help John finish up moving.  Before we left his dad told us that we were the most charitable 19 year old boys he's ever met.  It made us feel good and I totally took it as a compliment!  They gave us a bunch of stuff including a first aid kit, a skateboard and a 1960's road bike!  We had to try the skateboard out:





Friday:  We had district meeting and a cold front hit.  It was about 30 degrees out and we had to give some flyers out for the ward party this upcoming Wednesday.  While we were out, we met a ton of people and got a few return appointments!

As we were leaving the neighborhood, I had this feeling that we needed to go see the Hanks family.  So we drove over and chatted with them for a little bit and then they invited us to stay and have dinner with them.  While we were there, we met this guy and he told us that he'd never been a Mormon.  So I finally opened my mouth and asked him why not?  He couldn't give me a solid answer - so give yourself a pat on the back for being a Mormon!  Dare to be a Mormon! 

Saturday:  We got on the bikes and I took out the one that John gave us and rode about 15 miles and visited a bunch of less active/part member families in the area.  It was a ton of fun and E. Rumsey almost got hit by a car!  It was so scarry!






Sunday:  It was the best day of the week.  Bishop Wade called me out and asked me to bare my testimony before I left.  So I got up and shared a few thoughts about my visa being denied, deciding to stay and then getting my visa.  I share Alma 29:3 and talked about being content. 

After church, we had a meeting with a family and Brent Borgerson (the guy who went to Argentine on his mission) came with us and helped us teach.  We taught the restoration and the spirit was burning in the room.

Then we visited with a family with a 7 year old girl who wants to learn more about the church.  We got to teach the little kid version of the restoration and it was awesome!  Then the best thing happened!  We went with Brent to go see Juan and his son Juan - (haha)  We shared about the atonement - all in Spanish!  I was so surprised by how much I knew, and how easily I could speak!  I am super pumped to get to Argentina now!  I think I might actually be able to communicate when I get there!

That night, we had dinner with the Smith's again and took some good-bye pictures. 

Have a solid week!  I'll be fixin' to talk to ya'll soon!

Love you,
Elder Harris