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!

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 . . .


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