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.


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

Monday, October 14, 2013

We Don't Turn Anyone Away

Well this week:

Monday:  Just a normal p-day in Edmond.  We played some ball, had a good time, went to get some food, I bought some new kicks, and then we went to the Wade's to play volleyball.  This kid, Dakota, is having a hard time.  His mom has cancer and we're praying and doing our best to help him feel loved and included.  So that night at volleyball Spafford and I BEAT Olsen, Bro. Wade, Rumsey and Hannah!!!  It was SICK!

Tuesday:  We played a little game for lunch:  Top Chef.  I cooked up some chicken legs and the other Elders made some breaded pork which was really good!  Then we went to work!  We had an appointment with an investigator, but she wasn't home but we ended up running into someone else that we needed to see and he's doing really good.  He got a job offer that he was hoping for so it was a big blessing for him!

We also tracted this nicer neighborhood with a teeter-totter, which was fun.  We also taught the first discussion like 4 times but when we'd offer up a Book of Mormon they all said no!  But hey!  At least now they know about Joseph Smith.  :)

We also heard some really good excuses of why they couldn't pray with us.  Here are a few of my favorites:

1.  I'm a Christian.
2.  I already prayed today.
3.  I'm not who you're looking for.

Haha!  We spent the rest of the night tracting.  Go team.

Wednesday:  It was crazy!  We went to see Pork Chop and sat in his garage checking out his new Ford Flex.  I'm not really sure why he would trade in his cool looking GMC truck - but I didn't ask questions.  But while we were talking to him, a few of his friends came by to see him.  This one lady came by and she was a waitress and she told this story about someone had left a card on one of her tables.  So she checked it out and thought it was super cool!  So we gave her a Book of Mormon and told her to call us if she had any questions.  Then this other guy came by with his son.  They're Baptist and the younger one sounded like a preacher.  They thought what we do was pretty cool so we talked with them a little bit about the Book of Mormon.  So our buddy heard about the Book of Mormon 3 times in one day - I think he could probably teach the first lesson now!  :)

That night, we had an appointment with our army friend.  As we were walking up to his house, we saw him outside pacing with a notebook in his hand.  We knew if couldn't be good - and before he could even respond to our question about how he was doing he asked us "How much do you really know about your church?"  As he said this, I felt this darkness creep into the conversation.  He spent the next 30 some odd minutes telling us how false our church was, etc.  He had this dark look in his complexion and he kept saying things like, "I deceived you!  You invited a wolf into your flock!"  And then he went on to tell us that we needed to be more careful about inviting people unto Christ.  I'm completely sure that the Spirit put words into my mind and I said, "Well, we don't turn anyone away because Jesus Christ never turned anyone away.  We are the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and as a representative of our Master we believe that all men can change."  He began to tell us how Christ was not his Master and tried to sway our beliefs of Christ being the Savior and Joseph Smith being the Prophet.  This is the part that really touched me - I began to speak, but I didn't feel as if I were saying anything.  I literally felt like Jesus Christ was speaking through me as I blessed him and his home in the name of our Lord, and bore testimony of what I know to be true and that I could not, and will not ever deny it.  I have never felt the powers of good and evil fighting so fervently.  I told him about the dark feeling I had since the moment we walked up to his house and that we would return another day but I felt it necessary to leave at that very moment.  As we walked away he was kicking his car and I felt the power of God touching my spirit and telling me that everything would be okay.  When we got back to the car I said a prayer and begged Heavenly Father to give the light back to us and that His spirit would be with us.  Since then, I've felt absolutely drained.  I guess that's what it takes to have the Lord speak through you.  I pray for our friend that he will someday be able to know the truth.

Thursday:  We got to bike a ton!  haha!  We biked around and tried to find people to teach and struggled a bit, but we did give a Book of Mormon out.

That night we saw our buddy, Daryl. his wife recently passed away and we shared the Plan of Salvation with him.  I've never felt the Spirit teaching more than I did that night.  It was honestly the best lesson I've taught since being on my mission.  I felt prompted to ask a ton of questions and the all seemed to fit right into place.  Our hour long lesson seemed like 5 minutes.  It was awesome!

So later that night, we went and saw Randy.  His son-in-law Chris was over.  He knew the 2 AP's from earlier and basically believes in all the church but just isn't ready to commit, so he attends Life
Church.  Whatever.  So this is the funny part of the story.  Chris asked us, "So what happens if or have you ever been stuck with someone you don't get along with?"  And E. Rumsey, without hesitation, just pointed right at me!  Haha!  We all had a good laugh and had to explain how it can be hard, but when we love like Christ did - it makes it easier to live with people we don't really get along with.  I was just laughing that Rumsey pointed at me because in the beginning that was definitely true!  haha!

Friday:  We had the best District Meeting that I've ever been to!  Elder Peterson gave us a lesson of "Our Purpose as Missionaries" and helped us to realize that missionary life is more than something we do, it something we have to be.  He helped us recognize the Atonement more fully in our lives and how much we need it each and every day.  He brought up how we control and area, and that we're the only ones who can offer salvation to these people.  It was kind of a slap in the face, but it was needed.  :) 

Saturday:  We spent the whole day tracting  and then helped a lady move. 

Sunday:  We had church, studied, had dinner and a meeting with Brother Dickman.  It was way cook - I'm gonna miss Dicky so much!!!  He's the bomb.

Well, that was my week!  I love you guys

Elder Harris

Monday, October 7, 2013

I Have a Visa!

You have no idea how crazy this whole situation has been.  I don't remember if I shared with you the entire experience about the visa confusion.  I was really freaked out about the whole thing because I had decided to stay in Oklahoma.  When I was told that my application had expired I spent a lot of time praying and pondering on what would be best for ME.  I finally just made up my mind to stay in Oklahoma.  That night, I decided that I would share my decision with the other Elders and tell them that I had decided that I would just stay in Oklahoma.  About 15 minutes after I shared my feelings with them, President called me and told me that my Visa had been approved and that I fly out on the 22nd.  I guess the Lord truly does have a greater work for me to do down in Argentina.

As for my feelings - I feel a lot more anxious than anything.  I already battled the idea of me going to Argentina once when I was still at home and now it's really happening and I have to wrap my brain around it again.  Am I nervous?  As heck.  But I know that the Lord will take care of me.  This conference helped me a TON!

I'm sincerely sad to leave Oklahoma.  I've come to love this place as my mission.  I have more than a top 10 of great experiences - more like a top 100!

1.  Like Elder Beach and the accident with his knee
2.  Helping my companion through a hard experience where his best friend committed.
3.  Another companion being ready to go home.
4.  Helping my investigators re-prioritize their life
5.  Helping them see the joy of the Atonement of Jesus Christ
6.  Learning and growing in Anadarko . . .
7.  Helping a companion overcome homesickness and being away from home for the first time.
8.  Helping other missionaries overcome "apostate" habits
9.  Helping a companion find his own happiness and joy in the gospel
10.  Realizing that the Lord sends these experiences my way for my benefit . . .

I don't say these things to boast, but I've had a lot of difficult situations put in my way.  Through all of it the one thing that I've learned is (from Joseph B. Wirthlin taught in his talk titled "Come What May, and Love it") is the power of laughter.  The power to change an entire situation simple by how WE react to it.  If anything, staying positive and optimistic has been the biggest help for me, and I pray that it will continue to help me throughout the rest of my mission.

I will just miss Oklahoma!  The people here are amazing.  I will miss the other Elders who are now my friends and I'll miss knowing that if I'm hungry - I can always go to McDonalds.  :)  But I look forward to just finally getting there, meeting the people and learning this language!

So for this week:

Monday:  It was just a normal p-day full of email, sports and sweaty missionaries!  We went to the Wade's house again and got to talking about that video that Rachel Pitts made of all of us opening our mission calls - so we watched it at their house!  The other Elders and the Wade family were all just baffled at how many of us there are!  Watch it again, it's insane!  Elder Spafford and I finally beat Bro. Wade and Otuafi too - so I was pretty stoked about that!!!

Tuesday:  We tried to clean up the ward roster and met a guy.  He told us about his wife passing away and it was so sad.  He was pretty broken up about it but we told him that we'd like to help him build his faith back up!  I mean, hey, it's what we do!  :) 

We spent the rest of the day tracting and I saw some pretty ponies.  :)  Then that night we had lasagna.:)  Then a "good-bye" party for Otuafi.

Wednesday:  is our service day.  We also played a really good prank on E. Spafford's trainee.  We pretended to be investigators and we asked the most ridiculous questions.  When Elder Olsen picked up on what we were doing he started teaching us incredibly false doctrine.  It was hilarious!  When we asked him what gave it away he told us that when he saw E. Rumsey playing with his oil container . . . he knew.

Thursday:  It was a great day!  We tracted a neighborhood and we knocked on this lady's door who looked like she'd been crying.  She told us that it was a little strange that we were there to say a prayer with her.  We bore testimony about how important prayer is and then she shut the door.  I guess she didn't want to pray . . .

Friday:  The best day of the week!  We had an awesome district meeting given by Elder Peterson.  Super, super inspired!  He told us that we need to teach with the spirit because ultimately that's what's going to do the converting - not us.  We then had lunch at the Stables and went back to work.  We went to go see Monroe but he wasn't home so we did some knocking and found this other guy.  He was about 26 or so and just got back from Afghanistan or somewhere like that a few weeks ago.  So we ended up asking him a bunch of questions since he didn't believe in the Savior and had been told his entire life that he was a sinner.  It was truly heartbreaking but we'll go back and visit Tobias again.

That night we went and saw one of our investigators.  She is from Mexico and we spoke in Spanish for like 45 minutes!  We had a great time and I was shocked by how much I knew/understood.  She even told me that I sounded a LOT better than the last time I was speaking to her!  That she understood more! :)

Saturday and Sunday:  We spent the time watching conference and I loved it!  I had a few favorites but I forgot my book so I'll write more about that later.

I love you guys!  Follow the Prophet!

Live by Faith!

with all my love,
Elder Harris