Thursday, March 28, 2013


Today is all about Peaches.

I just got back from the temple, and on our way back we saw this lady standing by the bus stop with a cardboard sign.  We walked over to her and found out that her name was Peaches.  She said that she's been called Peaches since she was a little girl.  Now she's unemployed and has some major back problems.  She thinks that she's going to die soon (she looked like she was pretty old) and all she wanted to do was to see her grandchildren again.  She told us how last night God woke her up and told her that she should walk to the temple.  After talking to her for about 20 minutes, Elder Beach and I said a prayer with her and asked Heavenly Father to bless her in all aspects of her life.  We ended up giving her a couple of bucks and left.  I don't know what it was mom, maybe I just got scammed - but the smile on her face was priceless.  I asked if there was anything that we could do for her and she told us that we could just keep praying for her.  So what' what I'm going to do!  I'm praying for Peaches!

On Sunday I was called to be the District Leader.  It's weird, all I really do is get the mail, choose someone to pray and pick the hymn every day.  I also do interviews and go to all of the leadership meetings.  So I guess that's cool.

Oh, so don't you dare pull an RM (the movie) on me and move to Arizona!  I'm happy to hear that you are all enjoying the weather down there.  :)  Yes mom, I know that you're proud of me.  :)  Tell my boys on the baseball team good job!  Just work hard!  If I've learned anything this past month isthat you truly have to work hard for what you want.  You have a question?  Go find it, don't ask for it.  I'm sorry to hear about Brae's arm.  I'll get to praying for him.  Tell him to pray for it - to have the faith to be healed.  Have him go on and watch the talk by Bednar called "Don't Shrink" or something.  It's a story about a man having faith NOT to be healed.  Really interesting.  You'll enjoy it.

I did see Marlo!  (My friend who works at the MTC on Wednesdays) It was good to see her, but I felt a little awkward.  Did she say I was a super awkward missionary yet?  I can't talk to girls anymore, I just babble then I'm all like "Hey!  Would you like to hear a message about Jesus Christ?"  Ya - doesn't fly. 

But I did make it a month!  Yesterday counts as one month Mom!  So you can stop counting the days and start counting the months!  :)  I'm staring to feel a little nervous about flying half way across the world, getting on a bus for 12 hours, and then start preaching the gospel.  Just a little nervous.  :)

ABOUT MY VISA!  Some of the sisters in my district went and talked with the Travel Office yesterday and they said that the Consolute for Argentina is coming on April 9 or 10.  That's the day after I'm supposed to leave, so I wouldn't doubt it if we were kept here for an extra week.  Other than that, no news.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me about perspective.  It's a huge thing.  I'm so happy to have Elder Beach as my companion.  After talking to Peaches today I asked "What more could we have done?" and he said "Nothing.  We did all we could. The rest is up to her."  So where I just want to lift these people up over these mountains, I can't.  I just have to sit back and watch them start climbing.  It's kind of hard to realize that I can't do it all, as much as I want to. 

I actually hosted (curb duty) yesterday too!  So saw Sam Beck and Hannah Palmer, but not Jake yet.  I didn't get to talked to Hannah all that much, but she was pumped to be here!  By the way, thank you for the cake!  I was bomb-digity.  Probably the best food that I've had here.  Elder Beach and I were  like screaming little girls at a briadal shower over it.  Thanks mom.

So I've had this question ringing in my head for the past couple of days.  Then when I met Peaches today it came up again.  When I look at my life, my family, where I grew up - all I can say is that I consider myself to be one of the most blessed people in the entire world.  I can't even believe how ungrateful I was growing up.  Mom, Dad - Thank you for everything.  Seriously.  But this is my question:  Why are some people blessed and things just seem to work out for them?  Where as others, like Peaches, have a really hard life?  I know that Heavenly Father loves all of us, and we need to trust that.  But was the reason I was/am so blessed because I need to share it with people less fortunate than me?  Or what?  Any Mom council your have would be appreciated.  :)

Fun fact.  There were about 800 missionaries that came in yesterday.  I heard that 52% were sisters!  Como loco!

Estamos aprendiendo que espanol es muy dificil, pero espanol es bien. Es poco y poco, dia y dia. Pero estoy aprendiendo todas dias. Yo hablo como una hombre blanco, pero este chevere. Elder Beach y yo hemos enseñabamos Jorge y Nely mas dias este semaña y invitabamos Nely a ser bautizado ayer! Es magnifico! Ella querra saber mas acerca de la iglesea, y estamos listo que esneñar.

We're way pumped about this place!  I love it here!

Never Shrink. 

Love you all!
Elder Harris

P.S. - Just found out I got curb duty again next week!  Tell Justin to look for me!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Three Weeks Down . . .

THREE WEEKS DOWN!  We were talking yesterday as a district and realized that we're OVER THE HILL now.  We fly out in less than 3 weeks!  How crazy huh?

I'll be watching for Adrianne this week and I'm going to fight to work curb duty on April 3rd so maybe I can pick up Jazzy, Justin or Melissa. (Kids from our ward) That would be dope.

Everyone is my district is doing really good and adjusting to mission life. Elder Vandevort bore his testimony after the devotional the other night and holy cow - I was smiling, laughing and crying all at the same time.  He bore testimony on how he's on a mission for his dad (his whole family was converted just 2 years ago), his little brother, and his Heavenly Father.  It got me to thinking about who I'm serving my mission for . . .

Last night I was talking with Elder Neilson about how we see people that have served missions and how they kind of set the bar for us for what we HAVE to do.  I told him that I have absolutely no excuses to go home after all my brother Tyler has done.  (Tyler tore his ACL while serving his mission in Russia and had to come home early for surgery.  He returned to his mission after a 6 month recovery only to have to come home again after 2 long months because of continued knee problems.)  Seriously, I tell that story about 3-4 times a day.  Most of the responses I get are "You're serious?" or "Dang, that would be so hard."  Stuff like that, but you get the point. As much as I miss you guys, I know that I'm here to change, meet people, and plant seeds.  But don't worry Mom, I think about giving you a huge hug in 23 months every day.  :)

As for this past week . . . Friday was a super long day and I was super frustrated when we went and taught.  We have an investigator who's name is Nelly.  She's super quiet and has had a really hard life.  She told us the base of what has gone on and how she doesn't think that God listens to her prayers.  I didn't know what to say so I just sat there and bore my testimony with my whole soul.  I started to cry - it was a little embarrasing but I KNOW that the Spirit was with us.  Afterwards, Elder Beach gave me a hug and said, "dang, where did that come from?"  Then he told me that he didn't understand about half of what I said, but he could just feel my spirit.  It was a way cool day and I was totally exhausted after that.

Saturday was normal, we taught a lesson and learned more Spanish.  Yay me.

Sunday was probably one of the best days that I've had here at the MTC.  We had an amazing priesthood meeting by Bro. Lisonbee on the Holy Ghost and I got to show my zone how to consecrate oil since I hadn't done it yet . . . whoops!  But it was awesome and I had to do it in front of everyone.

Then for Sacrament Meeting the Branch President's wife spoke of visualization.  She told a story about her grandson that runs track and how he visualizes each step he takes during the race.  From the first step until he crosses the finish line and is greeted by a bunch of overly excited grandparents.  She related it to our life here and to our missions and how we need to vizualize what it's going to be like when we return to Christ and work toward getting there every day.

Then to the devotional.  I sang in the choir!  We sang some song that has never been sung before.  I also found out that they're doing a big special on the MTC in between conference sessions on Saturday.  So look for me I might be in it!  :)  Anyway, a guy named Robert P. Swenson of the Seventy spoke and oh my gosh, he talked about rocks.  Yup.  Rocks!  How some people's testimonies grow like indigneous rocks where everything seems to just HAPPEN for them.  Others, like sandstone - where it takes time - like grain of sand here and grain of sand there and then in time and with some pressure they slowly devolop a strong testimony of the church.

He then told this story about a family that got super rich, super quick and when the recession hit they lost everything.  They had to move into a shack with no water and no electricity and just got to work and prayed every day.  After 6 years of living this life, they were finally able to move into a home with water and electricity.  He compared this story to Lehi's dream where Lehi walks for hours in darkness then finally prays and that's when he's shown the dream.  He was really inspiring and closed with "Let us be BO(u)LD-ER".  So whever we get a thought that we should just say it because sometimes it's what someone need to hear.

Later that night we watched a talk by Elder Bednar titled the Characteristics of Christ.  It was by far the best talk that I've ever heard in my entire life.  It honestly changed Elder Beach and my perspective on missionary work.  He started his talk by saying, "I need your whole body, heart, and mind for the next little while . . . "  I related this to my mission and I need my whole soul engulfed in this work because I know that I'm more effective when I don't think about what you guys are having for dinner and stuff like that.

There were some things that he pointed out that I never noticed before like how in the midst of my affictions that I would turn my focus on myself and want everyone to throw a pity party for me, but Christ turned out.  When He was the most down - He served others.  He then went on to talk about how simply having a testimony just isn't enough for a missionary, for a member, for anyone.  You truly have to be completely CONVERTED to this work.  That even if an apostle fell away it wouldn't matter because you know for yourself that this church is true with your whole body, heart and mind.  He compared it to Alma 23: 5-6 and the Lamanites (I think) who were converted and NEVER looked back.  I don't think that we need to have "Testimony Builders" as much as "Conversion Solidifiers".  I know that I have a long way to go, but that's what a mission is for.  Everyone here keeps telling me that the greatest convert on my mission should be myself and the only way to do that is to focus on others.  Like Peter said, 'When I am weak, I am strong" - referring to having the Lord with him or when Elder Bednar says, "Loose yourself in others, and you'll find yourself."

Monday was a normal day . . .

Tuesday was devotional again - and I sang this day too, so look for me!  Elder Scott D. Whiting of the Seventy and his wife spoke.  I liked her talk the most because she started off by saying "We have 10 minutes of missionary service in our lives.  Don't waste it."  Then I got that letter from you the next day where you talked about Tyler and how I just need to love every second of my mission, because Tyler didn't know and none of us ever know if we're going to get to serve for 2 years, 2 months, or 2 weeks.  It got me to thinking about how I wished that when I played baseball that I had played every game and every practice like it was my last.  But that's in the past and I'm moving on and want to make every lesson amazing until I'm finished doing this work.

During her talk, I had this impression to write myself a "Personal Statement" which I basically wrote myself a contract for my mission that I would forget myself and go to work, obey with exactness and consecrate myself to this work.  Then I signed it.  Mom, go read 1 Nephi 3:15 - I will come home when I get done what I need to get done. :)

Brother Whiting talked abou how the MTC in an incubator.  Where it's so uncomfortable here with the gross food, the new companion you are with all the time and the small classrooms - but it's all for a purpose.  To make us rely on The Comforter - to start to realize that when life is awkward or just not as comfortable we have to rely on the Holy Ghost to get us through.  The thing at the MTC is that we don't have our normal comforts.  Everyone has their outlets - it might be family, friends, music, sports . . . But here, you can't have any of those things but I figure that I signed up for this so I might as well make the best of it.  :)

He then asked us if we remembered the first time that we felt the Holy Ghost in our lives.  Can you remember?  I remember sitting at Tyler's baptism when I was about 6 years old and when he was getting confirmed I felt something different in my chest.  Now I can testify that I was feeling the Holy Ghost.  I'm so blessed to be a part of this church, and I'm so grateful to have an amazing family and friends.  I love you all!!!

Well, the MTC is awesome!  I'm doing great and everyone else is doing good too.  Please keep me updated on all the mission calls and who I should be looking for and such.

The Russian district moved in right next to us, so I go spit some mad Russian lines at them and the noobies are blown away.  Ya.  Estoshnaa!!!  I love it.  I talk to them all the time and I'm all out of the Russian CTR rings - they loved them.  They think that Ty is the biggest boss around - there are two missionaries in Novo that you need to ask Ty about - an Elder Rich and a Sister Brown?

I've decided that my mission scripture is going to be 2 Nephi 31:20 - "Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and all men.  Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life."

Thank you for sharing that thought with me.  I shared that with my district and they loved it so that's my goal - If nothing else, I'm going to leave every companion, every district and every area better than I found it.

Anyway,  I love you so much!  I hope that everything is going amazing!

Elder Harris

My Desk

My name tag and "Elder Jardine"  (always with me)

I'm bored waiting for Elder B- so I'm taking pics of myself!

Elder Freddy Shelton & Elder Harris

Elder Blackner and Elder Harris

Elder Blackner and Elder Harris

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Big News this Week!

Good News!  Elder Beach is OKAY!  From my hand written letter I sent the other day, you could probably tell that we were all pretty scared, but on Tuesday we went to the doctor and everything checked out okay.  So he's doing really good and we all realized that Saturday was a blessing in disguise for all of us.

Well, Colton is gone.  I can't believe that he's already in Jamaica!  We took a few pictures together and Dad told me that you guys got some from Brad and Bre too.  Could you please print them and send them to me?  I also just need more pictures for my book.  Please send me anything from home and my friends. 

So more big new for you!!  Nobody is getting their Visas.  Our teachers are telling us to plan on getting re-assigned.  None of the people in the district that just left (they were going to Peru) got their Visas and ended up in Missouri and West Virginia.  I've heard of the re-assignments going everywhere - even Salt Lake City and Provo South.  THAT WOULD BE SO BAD!  It's not like I don't already feel like I'm still home.  In less than 10 minutes I could walk to my apartment.  Anyways, I guess I'll let you know where I get re-assigned!  :)

Blackner still hasn't gotten his Visa.  He told me that he's going to meet with the consolate - I'm not sure what that really even means or if it even helps but all I know is that nobody is getting a Visa.

The Food.  Well, after the first week I realized that I just need to be super conscious about what I eat and try to eat some fruit with each meal - otherwise I feel sick.  I don't know what my favorite thing is - it just all kinda tastes the same.  I'd love some Taco Bell! haha

My Spanish is good.  I can talk with my friends alright.  I remember a TON more than I thought I did from my spanish classes in high school.  Thank you Senora Swartz.  :)  We do TRC for the first time tomorrow and I'm pretty pumped!  Elder B and I are starting to get a feel for each others Spanish, so when we teach we ping-pong it a lot more.  We really have a great companionship - we have similar personalities and teaching abilities - I love it!  My teachers are awesome.  Hermana Thomas is tiny.  She's like 5 feet and maybe 100 pounds.  She's super cute and I'm thinking about setting her up with Tyler.

I saw Sister Jones (Tayler Hendrick's grandma) and Jen baked me like 10 cookies and sent them down to me.  I was so happy to have them so tell her THANK YOU for me.  Tell everyone who has their mission call to start to prepare themselves for the MTC because it is so awesome here.  I can't believe that I've already been gone for 2 weeks.  It's so true that days feel like weeks and weeks feel like days.

Tell Talon Miller congrats on his call to Russia!  I saw a bunch of the Russian missionaries on our temple walk on Sunday.  I gave them some of those Russian CTR rings and they loved them.

LOVE YOU ALL!  Thank you so much for being so supportive of me out here.  I seriously just love you all so much.

Trust in God, have faith
Keep the Faith!

Elder Harris

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

My First Miracle


How was the baseball tournament?  I hope my boys did okay . . .

I couldn't wait until Thursday to tell you a couple of things, so you're getting a hand written letter from your favorite missionary!  :)

For starters - thanks for the package!  We loved it.  I need some emergeny-C if you can send me some.

I saw Tayler Hendricks grandparents here.  They told me that he got his call to SPAIN!  What!?!? They also said that someone got called to Denmark and England, but didn't tell me who.  So who is it?

Colton flies out on Tuesday as well.  We're going to get some pictures on the temple walk on Sunday.  I'll send them to you next week.

So this is what I need to tell you!  The other day (Saturday) we were playing basketball.  Long story short - Elder Beach completely dislocated his knee cap.  He picked up a rebound, turned - and then hit the floor with his knee cap protruding out of his leg!  My first thought was that he completely blew out his knee.  It looked so bad.  So I ran for the doctor and my district said a prayer that he would be okay.  The doctors came over and popped the patella (knee cap) back into place.  I carried him to the doctor's office where we iced and wrapped it up.  After leaving him there I broke down.  Just wondering HOW or WHY this accident had to happen to my brother and now to my first companion. 

I went to a corner of the gym and said this prayer - I don't even know how to explain it.  I've never felt the spirit so strong.  I can honestly say that I felt Heavenly Father put his hand on my back and tell me everything is going to be ok.  I prayed harder than I think I ever have for someone in my life.

After gym, we iced it a couple of times and took it easy.  That night Elder Beach asked me to give him a blessing.  I was super scared because the only other blessing I've ever given was to you. So I said a quick prayer that I would be led by the Spirit and know what to say.

Elder Mickelson annointed the oil and I gave the blessing.  I've never felt closer to my Heavenly Father in all my life.  I don't remember anything I said, but it felt like my heart was on fire.  I closed the blessing by saying "Keep the Faith" and I FINALLY understand why Ty would always say that in his letters.

So we kind of paused - all of us - for a second after the blessing and E. Mickelson said, "I've never felt this way before."

Later that night I was writing a letter to Ty asking for advice when I got this prompting that my companion would be able to walk tomorrow.  So I told that to E. Vandevort who said, "You're crazy!  Did you not see his knee?"  All I could think of to say back to him was "You've got to have faith!"

So I'm writing on Sunday night and guess what!?  He walked today!  Yes, he still has a bit of a limp and he's slow at walking, but if this wasn't a MIRACLE, I don't know what is.

I'm going with E. Beach to see an orthopedic surgeon on Tuesday morning just to make sure that everything is okay. 

Anyway, I love you mom!  Tell the rest of the family that I love them too.  I love Elder Beach like a brother. 

Elder Harris

Thursday, March 7, 2013

My First P-Day

Mother Dear!  :)

I got the package!  Thank you!  Could you please send me some shampoo?  I've been using Elder Beach's.  Also could you send me a toothbrush or two?  And if you REALLY LOVE ME, could you please send me some gum?  And fruit snacks?

So Elder Beach is AWESOME!  We get along really well.  The first couple of days here at the MTC are kind of awkward but I'm guessing that it's that way for everyone.  There are two other Elder companionships in my district:  Dial, Mickelson, Neilson and Vandervort along with three Sister companionships.  They are all really awesome - Sister Smith is a total hipster and I laugh so hard at some of her jokes.

Last Wednesday, my first day wasn't bad at all!  Thursday was the longest day of my life. I was dying.  Then Friday morning when I woke up I wondered what the heck I was doing here.  On Thursday they talked to us in straight spanish all day and I tried my best to understand - it was just seriously the worst day.  By the time Sunday rolled around we had a fireside with the Provo Temple President and it changed my whole life!

I have seen Colton a lot.  Everytime I see him, I just give him a huge hug - since we can't hug the Hermanas . . . haha  His companion is SICKKKK and they're getting pretty excited to get to Jamaica.  My schedule is busy, busy, busy.  The hardest part for me now is staying awake during personal study.  Our class just gets so quiet and warm and before I know it . . . . it's zzzzzzz.

I'm pretty sure that I'm supposed to leave the MTC on April 8th instead of the 9th like it said in the letter.  But the last district that left before I got here didn't get their Visas so they're going to other places in the states.

Justin finds out today if he re-assigned or not - I'll keep you posted.  It's so great because his classroom is 3 doors down from mine so we see each other all the time! 

Brother Day, the second counselor in our branch keeps me updated on sports.  He's a HUGE Orem fan and told me all about the 4A championships and Lone Peak too.  Let me know how Braeden and the rest of the baseball team does.  Could you please share this scripture with Parker?  It's 1 Nephi 15:24.  I just wanted to make sure that he's doing good.

Gotta Run!

Elder Harris
Elder Keenan and Elder Harris

"The District"

The boys in the district

Elder Justin Blackner and Elder Harris

Elder Harris and Elder Rawle

Elder Harris and Elder Brady Schmidt

Elder Harris and Elder Justin Lewis

Elder Harris and Elder Harris

Elder Beach, Elder Blackner and Elder Harris

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The First Letter

Family!  The MTC is great!  We've had a busy, busy couple of days.  We seriously go from studying to more studying to classes to eating to more studying.  We EAT, PRAY & STUDY!  haha Welcome to the MTC!

I met my branch president today and he and his counselors are amazing.  I can already tell how great they are. 

Ty is right . . you have NO time here.

Just an FYI - my companion is Elder Beach.  He played lacrosse in middle school so we do have some common ground.

I'm running out of time . . .

We're having a great time and I've seen so many kids from high school it's insane.  Every corner I turn around it's like a Lone Peak reunion!  Elder Blackner and I just kill it!  Our zones are close so we do everything together.

Love you guys!

Elder Harris

P.S. - P-day is Thursday!