Monday, March 31, 2014

Super Good Studies

What's up family?

Our plan for tomorrow is that we have district meeting - and it's also the birthday of one of the Sister's in my district so we're going to buy a little torta for her and enjoy it all together.  :)

It's been pretty dry here in Goya although it did rain a little on Saturday night and then again on Sunday morning (Satan) and nobody came to church (again).  When we were walking in our area to look for investigators that morning, the entire area was under water.  None of the members went to church either - we only had like 35 people this week.  Do you remember when someone told me that no one goes to church when it rains in Argentina?  Well, it's true.  :)

Yeah, I know that I look super good in pictures.  Especially with my sexy tan lines - you should see me with my shirt off - it looks like I'm still wearing my white shirt and tie if you know what I mean!?!?!?!  haha!

Will will watch General Conference here in Goya in a big building that's kinda like a stake center.  It has a satellite dish so we will get to watch it live.  It starts at 1, 5 and 9 here.  I'm trying to get it in English for us in another room - but if it's only in Spanish that's alright!  :)

I'm going to be honest, you used some really big words and I don't really know English right now, Mom.  But I'm sorry about your mouth and I hope you get feeling better!  :)

It sounds like your week was really good and mine was too!  We found this family and they're awesome!  They're 29 and 22 and have 3 little kids.  On our first visit with them we left a Book of Mormon and asked them to read Mosiah 2.  Victor read the chapter and when we visited the second time he shared his favorite scripture with me.  It was Mosiah 2:17 and he couldn't be more pumped!  They had a big family party this week in Compo but they'll be coming to General Conference this weekend!

We're also still teaching Jorge and Alicia and they've told us that they want to be baptized but we've got to get them married first!  They have 4 really awesome kids so we're hoping that they can get married the next couple of weeks and then we can set a date for them.

We stopped by to visit Alicia and Valentine this week and had a lesson by candle light since the power cut and it was already dark.  We taught them about the priesthood and how it prepares us to be better men.  We have plans for Valentine to receive the Priesthood so that he can start passing the Sacrament.  He also told us that he would love to serve a mission!  I think I might get him a little plaque that says his name on it with a picture from his baptism.  There is also one of my ties that he loves that I think I'll give to him.  :)

The best part about Valentine is that when he prays, he does it so well!  I literally think that he prays better than I do!  In his prayer this week, he asked God to bless his cousins, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, teachers and then asked for forgiveness of his sins and bad thoughts.  Ya . . . he's going to be an apostle some day.  Seriously, the coolest kid ever!

Something else cool that's been happening this week is my studies!  I've had super good studies this week.  When I was reading in Mosiah 2 the other day, I came across verse 41 where King Benjamin tells us that  we should "ponder on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments" so I decided to pull out my study journal and write down all the blessings that I've seen because of my obedience and/or the obedience of my parents.  It's super cool to see how the Lord just gives us blessings if we are just obedient.

I've been studying my favorite stories in the Book of Mormon this week and taking the advice of Tad R. McCallister who said "Sometimes we need to do more than read the stories of the Book of Mormon, we need to live them."  So while reading, I try to think on how this story applies to me and my life.  It's super cool!

That's it for this week!  I hope you all enjoy Conference like I know that I will!  The prophets live!  God loves!  We get to learn from the best!  The church is true!  Spanish is great!

Elder Harris

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


Hey Family!

Since yesterday was a holiday, we're writing today.  It felt like it was just a normal day to be honest and we worked pretty much like normal except that we had district meeting.

But Happy Birthday to Ty yesterday!  From the pictures that you sent it looks like you all had a good time and a little Texas Roadhouse for dinner.  I'd kill for that right now!  But hey, I can wait.  :)

As for the whole volleyball situation - who cares if they win or loose?  Someone has to win and someone has to loose in the end right?  Where's Russ at???  haha  But that's great for Brae, I hope he's having fun.

As for your questions:
1.  Are you sending pictures this week?  Yes!  I'm sending them right now!

2.  How was the baptism?  It was awesome!  We ended up having 5 people be baptized at the same time.  You'll see Elder Morin in there with me.  #LPforLife  In his area this couple got married on Friday and baptized on Saturday.  Alicia and Valentine were also baptized!  They're going to be an awesome contribution to the branch here.

3.  Did you get your package yet?  No, but I imagine that when I go to consejo in April it will be there.

4.  Does it rain every day now?  No, not every day but occasionally.  To be honest the weather couldn't be better right now!  It's in the 80's - 90's every day.  Not too hot, not too cold - and at night it gets down around 65-70.

5.  What's your favorite thing about Goya?  Well, it's somewhat modernized!  We live in the center of the city and we have this little place called Vea like a block and a half from our pench.  it's basically like Kohler's and it's nice to be able to eat Fruit Loops every day too!  They're dirt cheap here because nobody here buys them.  :)  We eat them with drinkable yogurt and it's SOOO GOOD!  Plus it's a big bonus to go to church with more than 20 members.  :)

6.  Do you dream in Spanish?  Hmmm . . . that's a great question.  I don't really remember my dreams but I do find myself thinking in Spanish more and more.  And I feel like I'm forgetting words in English.

7.  What are the homes like in Goya?  To be honest, the houses range from shack to literally a house made of wood pallets to a house made of cement.  Do you remember the story of the 3 little pigs?  That's pretty much what we do - tract the houses that they built!  :)  We LOVE it!  The most common house is made purely of cement.  Most of them even have cement or dirt floors.  Every once in a while you will see someone that has tile.  Our pench has all tile floors and everything else is cement.   It's not the Trump Tower, but it works!

8.  How big is your area?  My area isn't really that big.  It's like 20x25 blocks more or less.  Also the block here are a lot smaller than the ones in the states.  Since we live in the centro, we walk about 20 minutes to get to our area and we work most of the time in the furthest parts of our area so we start our day with a solid 30 minute walk.  :)

9.  What do you mostly eat there?  We eat something called Guiso every day.  Literally every single day.  It's made with either rice or noodles with a little bit of meat and oil.  It's not too bad!  It's just kinda bland but it fills us up and helps us have enough energy to get through the day.  Hma Oviedo cooks the best Guiso that I've had so far!  SO GOOD.

Thanks for the thought too.  It was a good one!  I also feel like I have peach in my life. It's a good thing to have and so great to be so young and have my entire life ahead of me.  :)  Like President Gottfredson said before I left "You start all of that tonight . . . "  So I guess I'm already starting my own life.

This week was great!  We had consejo and a zone conference.  I got to help the missionaries realize that we shouldn't just be ovbservers but solucioners!  We need to do more than just watch.  Nothing changes simply by good observations.

The rest of the week we worked hard and had a great time.  It FLEW by and I had lots of inspiration.

Recently I read a talk by Elder Uchtdorf called "Of Things That Matter Most" and I started to think about the things that really are the most important in my life.  The more I started thinking about this, and clearly, I thought about you, Mom and the rest of our family.  But while I was pondering this question came to mind "What does the atonement really mean to me? To Cody?"  So I spent a few days pondering this question and I wrote everything down in a journal that I have.  It was super cool to be able to put my thoughts of the sacrifice of our Savior on paper.  Maybe if you have a few minutes you can take some time to sit and think about what it means to you too.

That's it this week!

Elder Harris

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

I Miss My Brothers


First off, thanks a bunch for the "heads up" mom.  I know that I only have 8 transfers left.  :(  But I'm here to stay in Goya for another transfer!  We were super pumped to stay, especially because we are going to have the baptism for Alicia and Valentine this Saturday!!!  And we heard that another set of Elders have a baptism set up for the same day - so we're going to have a "Baptism Fiesta"!

And yeah, it been raining pretty hard lately.  This Sunday we only had 25 people show up to church.  8 were missionaries (4 more because the district president and his family came) and then there was another family because the Branch President asked her to speak.  I did get a chance to share a few thought in Sacrament meeting.  I shared on the importance of our examples and how although it was raining, the streets were flooded and nobody wanted to leave their homes that those of us were there decided to be obedient and come to church to renew our covenants with our Father.  It was awesome to feel the strong spirit there.

Happy Birthday Dad!

Tell Braeden that I'm proud of him.  For real!  He's such a great example, and he's been a bigger example to me throughout the years.  Also tell T-bird and the gang that if they want me on the softball team next summer that they better step up their game!  State champs mean nothing to me!  :)  But dang straight, I'll be playing with the boys!

This week was pretty calm.  Since we had district meeting, transfers, and preparing for consejo, we pretty much lost our time to get much work done this week.  On Saturday we did splits with two young men here in Goya, and we did work!  It was great.  I got to work with Eze and Suarez went with Damien.  They are brothers and they have 8 boys in their family.  Eze is 17 and when I'm at their house it always makes me miss my brothers.  After we did splits, we went back to their house and their mom had cooked like 8 pizzas for her boys and the missionaries (us)!  :)

Consejo yesterday was great!  I think I figured out something super important this week - that we need to focus on what's going right in our lives more than the negative because when we dwell on the negative, we become more negative.  Our thoughts make us who we are!

Oh!  Hma Oviedo game me the SICKEST vest and an athletic jacket for the soccer team here in Argentina!  It's fresh!  Definatly cool!

Love you guys!  See you soon!

Elder Harris

Monday, March 10, 2014

A Stamp on My Heart

What's up Mother of a recently engaged child!  How does it feel?  Your first son getting hitched?  And in about 13 more months you might have two!  :)

I'm glad to hear that Brae and Kenzie are doing better - I sure do miss those two.  And a big Congrats to Tyler and Kenzie Sage!  They look great in the pics.  They really do.  I'm wondering if Tyler decided to rep my shoes for the big day.  If so, tell him he can have them to remember the day.  :)

Well - this week is transfers.  Tomorrow night Elder Suarez and I will be going to the church to print off the calls and we get to make the phone calls.  In a way, I guess I'll be one of the first people to know what's happening in the mission this week!  But yeah, I don't know what's ahead for me.  I haven't heard anything and President is pretty good at keeping things quiet around the mission so we just have to wait and see.  I just know that I'd really like to stay in an area for more than 7 weeks so hopefully I stay here for awhile longer!

This week I had an interesting experience.  We were walking and this man that seemed a little tipsy yelled at us.  He was sitting with a few young boys so we went over to talk with them.  My companion started his own little discussion with the boys so I started talking to this man.  Long story short, he told me that the eyes are the gateway to the soul.  He told me that as he was GAZING profoundly into my eyes that he saw freedom, happiness and joy.  Humble, I had to agree.  I truly am happy, free and joyful!  As I stared back into his eyes I started to notice how truly sad he was.  I got to tell him what I saw in his eyes and the word I chose was "confused".  That's truly just what he is, just confused.  Blinded by Satan and his lies . . .

We also had the sweet opportunity to have a zone meeting with President Heyman and the assistants.  They came and we had a great practice with them and we learned a lot too!

I also had to travel to Resistencia for something to do with my visa with another Elder here.  We basically didn't sleep all night because of the awkward bus routes and then didn't even finish everything while we were in Resistencia so we'll have to go back later on in the month - but it's alright.

I also had a super spiritual experience while on this trip.  I have been reading the book "Our Search for Happiness" by Elder Ballard and I had just finished it when we were waiting in the terminal in Corrientes.  I read a story about how Elder Ballard was on a trip with 3 super successful businessmen and realized how they truly weren't happy.  When he returned home he expressed to his wife how he was truly the "richest" of them all because he had something that would last forever - family, friends and a profound love of God.

I started to think about my personal happiness and I felt impressed to look up.  When I did, I started to see in the eyes of all the people around me and how they truly weren't happy.  It was one of those moments that's hard to explain, but it seemed to put a little stamp on my heart.

As for our investigators, Alicia told us that she wants to be baptized on the 22nd and we invited her grandson to be baptized with her.  I hope he decides to follow her decision!  The other two are working on getting married.  This past Sunday we passed by to pick up Carlos for church and his brother was with him and wanted to come too.  Little did we know, the brother had been drinking that morning and during our Gospel Principles class the brother started talking and Carlos smacked him right in the mouth!  (Yes, this was in the middle of our lesson)  It was honestly hilarious!  :)

Give everyone a big hug for me and tell them that I love them!
Wish dad a happy birthday for me too.

Love you!
Elder Harris

Monday, March 3, 2014

I've Finally Figured it Out

It seems like I'm doing a whole lot better than you guys are this week.  I had a great week filled with spiritual experiences and time to ponder over that last year.  Thank you for the council that you and Dad gave me.  You have no idea how grateful I am to be your son.

As you know, I've come to realize that sometimes we have good days and sometimes we have bad days.  Bishop Collins sent me a letter a while back that I recently found and he quoted President Uchtdorf who said, "It doesn't matter the difficulty, it matters how we face it."  We know that the spirit is our comforter - so let it do it's job!  Anyways, I've learned that as long as we strive to have the spirit then we can be happy!  :)  And that's really the goal, right?  Our eternal, spiritual and mortal adventure for happiness . . .

As for Kenz and Brae, I am literally crying right now that I can't be there for them.  Let them know that they will be in my prayers and that I love them more now than I did when I left.

As for Braeden, reiterate the words that I shared a few weeks ago - "there are more important things than baseball."  I think that there's a song that Taylor Swift sings that talks about how when we're young, some things seem more important because we're "in the moment".  For example when I was cut from the baseball team my junior year - I thought it was the end of the world - but I'll tell you this.  Getting cut from the baseball team was the biggest blessings of my life.  It put me down a path to help me get to where I am today.  Invite him to read 2 Nephi 2.  It has helped me in the difficult times of my mission to know that the Lord is going ot help us "become the people that HE wants us to be", and sometimes we have to "get cut" to understand that.  When we have a crappy companion, day, area, whatever it might be - it's always for our gain.  Let Braeden know how much I love him.

I feel like this week is the week that I feel like I've figured it out.  I finally just accepted that all I can do is all I can do - then trust that God will go ahead and teach the people (missionaries, members, investigators) the lessons they need to learn.

This week, Elder Suarez and I wanted to try something out so when we left the pench every day we think about what our purpose is for that day.  One day, we decided to focus on this theme of "In what way can I show my love for  _________" (fill in the blank).  So we went about the week just trying to love people - showing them why the Gospel will change their lives and the love that Christ really does have for them.

Our investigators C and A are in line to be baptized in a few weeks and are planning to get married.  This past Sunday he was shaking because of the lack of cigarettes and alcohol.  As of yesterday, he down to 3 a day and he told us that he would do anything possible to quit and marry her.

This morning, Elder Suarez and I were talking about him and we hope that the reason why he has the desire to quit smoking, marry her and be baptized is because we're the first people to show him love.  He's never really felt it before since he grew up parentless and with out a real guide.  We hope that he's wanting to make these changes in his life because he feels love.

I truly believe that the key to the reason why the Savior was so successful in his ministry is because all he did was go around loving people and showing them WHY they should change.  I've never smiled bigger than when I watch C break his cirgarettes one by one and telling us that he's done.

We had another very spiritual experience on Sunday with Alicia.  When she came to church she told us that she had a few questions - so we told her that we would come by on Tuesday.  On Monday, I got a letter from a good friend who told me this story about a girl who had recently gotten married and went on a trip to Lake Powell with her family.  While they were there, he boat hit a shallow part in the water and her new husband was ejected from the boat and died.  So while we were at Alicia's, she shard with us a little bit of her past.  Long story short, in her 40 years of marriage she has lost 4 children.  Then she asked us the "golden question" - Why would God do this to me?  I shared the story about the young bride, the story about the girl who passed away in Oklahoma, what Elder Anderson shared with us and then what Bishop Collins shared with me before I left and let her know that God will consecrate our afflictions to make us into the people that He needs us to be.  We explained how if these things never happened, maybe she never would have accepted the missionaries.  Only God knows.  But we had a very good lesson with her and then left her home with the spirit to care for her and her family.

The McKoy's, a senior couple in our mission, go home this week.  They're from Washington and gave us some great advice.  Elder McKoy was the one who opened our eyes to the importance of LOVE in this work.

And like always, at the beginning of each month, as you did mom, my testimony grew again.  This time it grew in a few ways - but one in particular - in the importance of love.  If we have charity we will never fail.  I have also been studying about how to be more consecrated to the Lord and I know that charity is the key.  If we love the Lord, we will keep His commandments, go to church, and magnify our callings.  We will also be reaching out to those in need and strengthen the feeble knees.  We will do all we can to help, to serve and to love.

I wish today, more than ever before that I could be home with you guys, my family.  Not just to be in your presence but to help Braeden and McKenzie through this time of their lives.  I love you all, more than you know, and I am extremely grateful for all of the many blessings that the Lord has given us.

I know that God lives, that He loves us and that he sent his Son, Jesus Christ to give us an example of what we should do.

Love you guys.
Have a great week.
Elder Harris