Monday, April 28, 2014

Poppa Harris

Hey Family!

I stay in GOYA!!!  I'm still the Zone Leader here and I feel a bit more pressure on my shoulders with our Elder Suarez.  My new companion is Elder Valdez.  He's from California, went to West Point and it's his first transfer has a ZL.  He's really obedient and we work well together - plus we're having lots of fun!  Elder Suarez left Goya to be the Branch President in a place that really needs his leadership and experience.  He's going to do great but he's pretty nervous about it.

As for my boys and their mission calls - that's great!  I'm seriously so pumped for Devin, Sterling, Jared and all the others who are starting out on this great adventure.  It's truly is the best time of my life.  So funny story about Elder Valdez - he just served in Fontana in the same area with the same companion (Elder Zivic) that I had before I came here! So we've had a lot of fun talking about that area and how it truly felt like an adventure.  He had some awesome videos that truly show what "Bartolome de las Cases" is really like.  Words truly can't describe that place.  :)

It sounds like things in Oklahoma are a little scary again with all the tornadoes.  There are so many amazing stories and I'm just super happy that the Lord blesses and protects his missionaries (me)!  :)

As you know, Jorge and Alicia got married last week!  Alicia and Sandra were also baptized that day and we're doing all we can to help Jorge get baptized at the end of this month.  As for the wedding, I ended up taking a TON of photos and we decided that it would be nice to print them out and make an album for them to remember their "big day".  So we printed off about 50 photos and gave them one of my photo albums with all their pictures in it.  I've honestly never seen a family more happy!  Plus, I think it might be the only family photo that they have . . . :)

And now for some bad news.  One of the Elders in my zone broke his arm and we had to go to the hospital on Monday night to get everything fixed up.  We spent about 2 hours there and had to go back the next morning at 7 for an Elder with a bad ingrown toe nail.  They call me #poppaharris

My companion and I got a reference from a member the other day and visited her on Saturday night.  We invited her to be baptized and to come to church on Sunday.  She came and I think we're going to be having a baptism pretty soon.  She literally has nothing that can stop her from being baptized!  :)

As for Victor and Sole' - they've decided that it would be a good thing to get married and obey the Law of Chastity.  They're working super hard towards that we're excited for them and their desire to be baptized.

We truly have a lot going on in Goya right now and the branch has put a lot of trust in me and we're doing all we can with the little time that the Lord gives us here.  This area truly has been the shortest of all . . . 3 months have gone by like the snap of my fingers.

That's all folks.
Talk to you next week!

Elder Harris

Monday, April 21, 2014

Weddings, Baptisms and Consejo

Hey Family!

It's so nice to finally sit down and relax for a second today.  So Jorge and Alicia were supposed to get married last Wednesday and baptized last Saturday but the doctor decided not to show up so the papers didn't get signed and we had to change the wedding until TODAY!  We talked to President Heyman and got things worked out so that we could have the baptism today also so I just finished running around all morning and attending their wedding and baptism.  It was a great day!

Yes!  Transfers are coming up and I hope that I can stay here in Goya with my companion (he's a lot of fun) for one more transfer but I don't know if that's going to happen.  I think that the entire mission is going to be seeing some changes.

I looks like you guys put some rocks in the back yard!  It looks great!  And Braeden looks great with his prom date!  I remember being a teenager and I miss it tremendously.  Just being relaxed and having fun all the time!  Those were the good ole days for sure!  Hot tub Tuesdays and Wendesdays, and Thursdays, and Saturdays . . .

Sterling is a Larsen, so I have no doubt that he will go somewhere Spanish speaking.  I'm feeling Argentina!  Just send him on down here and I'll take good care of him.  :)  If you can, go and see Brother Adams.  I told him when I left that "I WILL SEE HIM AGAIN" - so intend on seeing him again and I'll be praying for him for sure.

This week we had interviews with President Heyman.  Elder Suarez and I bought these chicken sandwich things for everyone for lunch,  It was a super good change from the usual pasta, empanadas or pizza!  He also had Hermana Oveido cook up some of her famous Banana/Dulce de Leche Flan.  YUM

My interview was great.  President said something that President Gottfredson said that night before I left and it made me feel that I'm doing when the Lord wants me to do.  I felt like President Heyman "fulfilled prophecy".  :)

We also had consejo on Thursday in Resistencia.  We had a little mix up with tickets and ended up taking a later bus to Corrientes and then a taxi to Resistencia (which ended up being cheaper than the collectivo).  We enjoyed another consejo!

On the way back, we got on the bus and there was this little girl with down-syndrome sitting next to me and Elder Jones and the Sisters that went with us.  So being missionaries we started talking to them and she had recently turned 15 and had a quincinieta (it's like a big party for girls when they turn 15).  She had two huge albums chuck full of pictures and it was so sweet!  After we looked at her pictures, another mom wanted to show me her daughters quencinieta too.  I looked through like 5 albums of photos and heard stories about people I've never met before but it was pretty fun anyway!

We also had another super good lesson with Alicia this weekend and decided to review the baptismal questions with her and at the end of the lesson she started to cry and through her tears she told us how grateful she was for all the changes that she has seen in her family since she found the gospel.  It was a great moment to be able to have the spirit testify to us of the reason WHY we do the things that we do.  It was definately a great experience!

We are working hard and trying to do everything er can to help others.  Doing what we should, right?

I love you guys, have a great week!

Elder Harris

Monday, April 14, 2014

Continually Preparing

I made it safe and sound up to Resistencia and back this week.  We went up on Wednesday and got dropped off in the middle of Corrientes - we also had a bunch of other adventures that I'm going to have to share with  you AFTER the mission.  :)

I don't know what you're talking about when you say that you can't believe that it's transfers again next week - that the days go by slow and the weeks are so fast.  To me, weeks feel like days and transfers feel like weeks!  I feel like I just got to Goya last week and it's been almost 3 months!  Ya - that fast.  Before I know it, I'll be home getting fat like my brothers.  :)

As for Rosa, unfortunately no, she won't be getting baptized this week.  She lives in LaValle and for every fast and testimony meeting, we meet in Goya.  It costs about 24 pesos for the trip and she couldn't afford it - so her baptism is being pushed back.

Last week I spent most of the day Monday preparing for district meeting on Tuesday.  I talked about the principle of preparation.  Like the Cub Scouts motto:  Be Prepared!  I shared an experience that I had in the MTC where I asked the teacher how I could help my district stay focused throughout the day.  He responded by asking me how do we stay focused throughout life when we can be distracted by responsibilities of wives, kids, work, school, church callings and everything else?  I've been thinking about that question for a year now - and this past week I received an answer.  We stay focused by continually preparing.

The moment that we say "I'm good enough" is when we become not prepared.  I shared about how the prophets are always preparing and how we need to use our most important hours of the day preparing.  In the missionary manual it says that the most important hours of the day are before 10:00 because that is the time we use to prepare for the day!  I shared a few personal experiences and things that we could do to help us to prepare better.  It was a good district meeting and we felt the spirit of the Lord teaching us as we learned together.

LaValle had a baptism on Saturday (Elder Morrin) and we helped out with that.  We also got to eat some torta de dulce de leche that was super good!

That's about it and I'm out of time!  Love you guys!

Elder Harris

Monday, April 7, 2014

Moments that Matter Most

Family!  How is everyone today?  I hope it's all going good!  Especially with the big news this week!  And a big CONGRATULATIONS to my little sis who is the newest CHEVALIER!  So excited and so proud.  #cryingmanlytearsatthemoment

The divisions were great!  We had lots of success, taught well and a lot of people.  We had the blessing of talking to about 25 people combined on both of the exchanges.  The Lord is just throwing people in our way to teach!  And yeah, it's always good to go on exchanges and have a change of pace.  Plus, I love not knowing how the other companion teaches and learning new things from them because after awhile you just get used to teaching with the same person.  :)

I feel like my time here in Argentina has gone faster than my time in Oklahoma too!  I'm loving every minute of it and I'm sorry that I didn't bring my camera today.

To be honest it sounds like your lives are great, relaxed and blessed.  What else do you need???  I do have a challenge for each one of you!  While you are on your trip this week you should try to share the gospel with people!  I promise that your testimonies will be strengthened and you will be shown the love the Lord has for them.

As for this week, I have a few special moments that I'd like to share.

So this past Monday I was preparing for district meeting - and last week  I shared my thoughts about the Atonement and what it means to me - being the "most important thing".  I started to think about something that dad told me before I left.  He said "You've had 19 years to prepare, 2 years to serve, and the rest of your life to think about it."

So this week when I started to think about the idea of "Moments that are the most important" - I decided that I would share some teachings from the Sandlot.  In the story of Benny and Babe Ruth there is this quote "Heroes get remembered, but Legends never die."  Everyone gets one moment to do something great - some people never take the chance - some because of fear, others because they don't realize that it's staring them in the face!

I thought of how this relates to a mission.  How these short 2 years are truly some of the "Moments that matter most".  Since I was 5 years old we've been singing the song "I hope they call me on a mission" - it's what we've been working for all of our lives.  Yes, I admit that there was a time in my life where I had no intention of serving a mission - but the decision to serve has been, is, and will always be the biggest blessing of my life.  We truly have the authority but have to work to have the power - spiritual power - through diligent study, obedience and the love of God and all men.

So I shared this idea and it was nice to feel that spirit testifying that this is what I needed to share when I prayed and asked on Monday night and also on Tuesday afternoon as I was sharing it.  We also had the birthday of Hermana Skirvin so we got to eat a torta!  :)

Right after district meeting I took off to Lavalle with Elder Castilla (he's from El Salvador) and we worked hard!  We spent some time cleaning their pench and the ate a ton on milanesa!  While we were in Lavelle we had a lesson with a woman named Rosa.  It was super spiritual and at the end when we were teaching her about Joseph Smith she stopped us and said, "Jesus is touching my hear and he's speaking but I don't dare say it."  She motioned to give her a piece of paper.  I gave her my pen and a page in the pamphlet and she wrote "El Bautismo 17".  She wants to be baptized on the 17th!  It's a Thursday, but hey, I'm not going to say no to Jesus!  :)

As for conference I've just got to say that Elder Rasband has now told me that President Monson loves me, is praying for me and is thankful for me twice!  Once in person and now in General Conference! It was such a blessing to have been a part of that!  I hope that everyone is doing better in Oklahoma.

I will say that I learned a ton this conference!  These are a few quotes that hit home for me:

"He did all this, and is buried in a small, humble grave."  -Eyring

"We don't step up, only forward and backward in the service of God."  -Oaks

"Teachings have no purpose if we're not willing to change."  -Hallstrom

"When you are where you are, be where you are."  -Ridd

"A family picture, a family dinner, and a session in the Salt Lake Temple."  -Stevens

"I've never felt regret by being too kind."  -President Monson

I really loved conference and received a bunch of revelation.  So quick story - during the talk of Elder Stevenson when he was talking about the Olympic athletes that helped out the snowboarder - Elder Morrin said "That's a true athlete" when he referred to someone who wanted to succeed and also wants the success of others.  I learned a big lesson from Elder Morrin - a true missionary isn't a missionary that only wants to have a good mission but also wants to help other missionaries have a good mission too.  Developing the character of Christ each day of our lives!

Enjoy your vacation on the big boat!  Share the gospel with others!
You never whose life you might change - forever and for the better!

I love you!
Be safe!

Elder Harris