Monday, December 29, 2014

Feliz Navidad!!

Feliz Navidad!! 
Que sea un año de prosperidad! 

As for this week, Elder Brough and I have been absolute disasters. Either he or I have been sick everyday (including today). I don’t know what’s going on! So we had a weird schedule this week, but I think with all the time we spent in the pench I´ll be able to give a rundown of the whole week.

So Monday, we had the Zone Christmas party. We did the White Elephant, and it was a riot. I got this silly hat, and Elder Brough got this super itchy, neck-brace turtleneck. It was hilarious. We watched the Christmas Devotional and enjoyed some cookies that the sisters made.

As for Tuesday, we had a super good work day. The only problem, was that about 6 at night, I started feeling a little sick. I remembered what Prez Butler told me and I didn’t want to go to the pench early. So, we kept working. To make a long story short, my body couldn´t do it anymore. We had tried a few more houses but about 8:45 I finally threw in the towel. We took a bus and as the second we got home, I passed out. I think it was heat exhaustion. I just needed to drink a little more water. So since I´ve been drinking more and I feel fine!

Wednesday, la Noche Buena. Oh, and it was a GOOD NIGHT. So, Christmas here is celebrated on Christmas Eve. Everyone gets a ton of meat cooked up, a lot of drinks ready and wait until midnight to shoot off their fireworks and their guns. We also cooked up a little chicken and enjoyed some homemade bowling with some bottles we found. :) 

We had to be in the pench at 7, and it was near impossible to sleep.. so we just pressed on. 
As for the morning, we went Christmas caroling as a zone! It was way fun. We sang for a few families who haven´t come to church in a while and tried to lift some spirits through song. It was funny. There´s nothing like showing up at someone´s door with an ARMY of missionaries.

As for Christmas, we woke up, missed our bus and while waiting there was this lady sitting outside named Lorena that wouldn´t stop crying. While waiting for the bus we started talking to her (although she might have been a little tipsy,) I felt bad for her because her drunk boyfriend kicked her out on Christmas eve and she kept saying how she felt like a dog on Christmas. We ended up at the Flores´ house to have a little lunch then we came back to talk to you guys! We went to the terminal to take out a box for the zone, but the place was closed, so we wasted some time there... 

Friday and Saturday we got to work normally. We had a few lessons that were amazing. Christian and Johanna are still progressing. I´m not sure why they didn´t come to church because we talked to them on Sunday morning and they said they were good to go. Johanna is reading the Book of Mormon every day. She´s learned a lot! She keeps asking questions and is very fascinated by everything we´ve been teaching. 

We also met a guy named Enrique that´s from Bartolome de las Casas! But he moved away from there as a kid, but he knew Saul, Ernesto Flores and everyone else in the colony! It brought back some good memories to be able to talk to him.

I´m sorry, I´m doing a million things now and I´ve gotta run!
Love you all!

Elder Harris III

Monday, December 22, 2014

3 Nights Until Christmas

Querido familia mio,
como andan? 

Twas 3 nights until Christmas and all though my town. 
I still saw no signs of snowing, not even a sound. 
Because it reached 110 the other day and I´m very saddened to say 
That I don’t think that Santa and his big red coat will be coming over this way. 

That was my poem. I just wrote it. I hope you enjoyed it.  :)

So, 3 more days and you get to see me again. I´ll bet you´re all just dying with excitement. I know I would be. I’ll be calling at Noon for you guys. :)

As for my week, it was good. We sent Elder Flake off on Tuesday morning to another city called El Colorado. Right after district meeting I went on divisions to do a few baptism interviews. One of these guys was awesome. His name was Jorge. He asked me a question that I honestly didn´t know how to respond to, and for the first time I felt just how I imagine a bishop feels when someone steps into their office wanting comfort. The spirit just filled my mind with what I needed to tell this man, and we had a super great conversation. He was baptized and confirmed this week.

You´ll never believe this - so remember a few weeks ago how all the people we found were pregnant ladies... well, this week almost every door we knocked were less active members. It was cool at first, then it got super interesting then it just got funny... and after finding about 15 less active families it just got old. I wanna BAPTIZE!!

We are teaching this one family right now that is awesome. We´ve had 4 lessons with them up until now. They´re named Christian and Johanna and THEY¨RE MARRIED. Ya!!! They have 3 kids. One is 8, the other is 5 and a baby that’s almost 2. They are super cool. Christian works at a matadero (where they kill and skin cows) and I asked him how is job is... so he took a video of them killing, gutting, and skinning the cows. It was super interesting. 

Anyways, Johanna told us that Christian wants to get baptized and they read the BoM literally EVERYDAY. I´ve never had an investigator that reads as much as they do. It rained super hard this Sunday morning, so they didn´t come to church.. But they´re gonna be baptized before I leave this area for sure!

We´re working very well. Having the daily commute to "work" and back every day is getting old. That stupid bus never passes by. The other day we waited at the bus stop for an hour just to work for an hour then come home to be obedient! 

But sadly, while doing service for a member (we made concrete by hand and made it into his floor) Elder Brough hurt his back. So, the mission doc thinks that he did something to a disc, so we just relaxed for a few days. I was terribly bored. But hey! I got some time to read the scriptures!

Speaking of, this week I had a thought that’s super interesting. In 1 Nephi 16. Nephi after breaking his bow, goes and  the first thing he does is makes sure his brothers understand they have sinned and they need to "return" to the Lord. (may I remind you he´s still probably just as hungry as his family) THEN he goes to make a bow and ONE arrow. He only made 1 arrow then asked his Dad where he needs to go. I can honestly say that Nephi was one consecrated kid. He was so consecrated that even when he was starving he didn’t complain. We can learn a lot about life and the type of people the Lord wants us to be by the scriptures. I love Nephi and his never ending example of obedience and diligence.

I love you guys!
Merry Christmas!
Schlumberger! (ask brae)

Elder Harris III

Monday, December 15, 2014

Humble & Obedient

Hey Family!

How are you guys?! 
I´ll tell you one thing, Uruguay is NICE. Or at least the parts I got to see, but I´ll get to that.

But it sounds like you´re week was pretty... interesting. From polar plunges, hijacking house boats, and Christmas parties... and I thought that my life was crazy! I´m kinda alright that you didn´t go to the Seamons party because I couldn´t go either. You know that it´s always my highlight of my year. I hope Grandma and Grandpa Seamons are doing good. Are they still figuring out how to manage their Facebook? ha! Oh, and I told this lady here (probably like 65) that my 90 year old grandma just got a Facebook. She just about died. It was hilarious.

Anyways, Congrats to Talon. Being #5 of the Harris clan to be missionaries. What a gift to Grandma and Grandpa. I hope they enjoy it. ;)

As for the trip... oh, it was memorable. Probably about as fun as the California Senior trip that I took. Honestly, it was 50 missionaries, President Franco, and the bus driver on a big bus for about 15 hours. So, I´ll start from the beginning....

So Tuesday night, the Elders from Ibaretta had to come and stay the night at my apartment since there wasn´t other bus to get to Resistencia in time. So, they all got there and we ate some pizza that Elder Brough makes. It was 6 elders in our pench. The best part about it was that we didn’t have enough mattresses so an elder (Elder Hulme) slept in a hammock hooked up to our bunk beds. It was hilarious. 6 boys in a room the size of your closet. #countyourblessings

So Wednesday we headed to Resistencia. While waiting for the bus, we had bought the tickets we needed and we realized the bus was full, and 1 elder didn’t have his ticket.. so I drew the short straw and had to wait back with him, buy another ticket, and wait another hour and a half for the next bus to Resistencia. It was "one of those" moments. I did get some Subway though. They just opened one up in Resistencia. It was good, but not as good as the States. #sweetonionchickenteriyaki

But we got on the bus around 5 and took off to Uruguay. I sat on the back of the bus with Elder Beach and Elder Creer. It was a little ironic and someone made the comment that in exactly 2 months from that night, we would be sitting in the same places but on an airplane.. that was probably the trunkiest comment of the trip. ha! But it was good to talk to them, catch up, and see how they´re doing. We stopped in Reconquista and guess who got on the bus?! Elder Valdez!! The trip couldn´t have gotten better! And guess what he told me! His older brother is engaged!! I don’t know how much I told you about him, but the dating life of his older brother was one of our P-day conversation topics. 

So, we ate at this super nice restaurant in Reconquista before heading to Uruguay and when we got to Uruguay (the border) it was like 11 in the morning. We slept on the bus but it was alright. I slept pretty well. When we got to the border, it wasn´t too bad. We just had to do a lot of paperwork for 50 missionaries. Then for some reason, there was a problem with our bus so we had to take taxis from the border to the city of Salto, Uruguay. It was super pretty! OH! And our Taxi driver was hilarious. He is a musician and made this song for the Dorado festival, it’s like the Surubi festival that happens in Goya. Just another fishing competition. It was cool, he wrote a song for this festival and tried selling us a CD. I was gonna buy one but we changed the subject before I could ask him for one. :(

So we ate lunch at another restaurant then went to the stake center there in Salto. We met a few other missionaries that are in that mission, and traded some money with them, just for the memories, you know. ;)

But the trip was pretty relaxing until we tried to get back into the country...

So, as I got up to the list, I noticed they had pulled Elder Haselton, Beach, Creer, and Israelsen to the side and I´m just waiting for them to pull me to the side too... So, I got to the counter and he starts doing the paperwork. Luckily, he asked me if I know how to play a Fender Bass guitar. I told him not really, but I have a Les Paul at my house. He got soo excited about that. We started talking about AC/DC and made plans to meet up at their concert in Buenos Aires in March. ;) It was cool, and the best part - he let me through without a problem... so I´m legal for 90 more days! :)

As we got back from the trip, President took one of the elders in my zone out so we are currently in a trio. Me, Elder Brough and Elder Flake. Elder Flake is from Spanish Fork! He´s a good missionary and heads home in March. 

So we´ve been working, and luckily we managed to have a handful of lessons before the end of the week. None of our investigators came to church this week, but we´re still working. I don´t know why we´re having such a hard time getting people to church. It’s been 4 weeks without anyone coming to church... We´re staying positive though. :)

We are teaching the family Laviosa. They are probably the best we´ve got. One of the brothers-in- law was murdered a few weeks ago, and since they´ve been spending more time together. We´re teaching the mom and a handful of the family members. The difficult part is helping them get to church. I´m not sure why they don´t come... Aldo, one of boys is 25 and has told us multiple times that he wants to know if Joseph Smith really was a prophet and we´ve explained how he can know for himself. Everyone else in the family is listening, one of the younger grand-daughters is named Maribel, she´s 15 and is super interested. She asks super good questions and wants to come to church, she even was dressed and ready but Aldo and Laura didn’t wanna come, so Maribel couldn´t come either. 

It’s disappointing, but we´re doing all we can.

As for the spiritual part of my life - I´m doing great. I´m finding more great things in the scriptures than I ever have. I just finished Doctrine and Covenants from beginning to finish, and it was very interesting. While reading a lot of questions came to my mind. 

I recently have started on the Pearl of Great Price. While reading the other day something (like always) stood out to me. It´s a simple verse, but in Moses 5:5. Adam was obedient. It’s like his obituary. He was obedient. That’s how he was described. The other day at Leadership council, President Franco said "All I want out of my life is to be humble and obedient". It was something that stood out to all of us. An elder next to me leaned over and said "All I want to be is a multi-millionaire" I got a good laugh, but what I wanted to share is that we can put our focus on becoming something rather than being something. In a talk I read once it said that Judgement day won´t be like Finals of a college exam, rather a "what have you become/how have you used your time". 
So like Bishop told me over a year ago, let´s use our time efficiently. Moroni 9:6.

Love you all,
Keep the faith!
Elder Harris III

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Mangos and More!


How´re you guys? From the email it seems like everything was pretty.. uneventful. :)

My week also was pretty normal. Just another week in the field :)

This week we had to go to Consejo de Lideres (leadership council) and we learned how we need to be using "He is the Gift" to promote missionary work - in finding, reactivating and retaining people. So if you haven´t seen it yet... go onto NOW and watch it. Seriously, before you keep reading, check it out.

Anyways, Rosalia moved. Ya, our progressing investigator just packed up and went off to Buenos Aires like it was no big deal. We were pretty sad about it.
Since we´ve been using this "Él es la Dádiva" to tract, we´ve been giving these cards to everyone and their dogs because there´s a lot of dogs here. But really, we went into a Kiosko the other day that´s right around the corner from our pench and we decided to give the lady who was working named Ariseli a card to check out the video. She then rambled on for 15 minutes about how she´s been meaning to talk to us because recently her dad died and her best friends´ something died the other day too. We sent the missionaries to her house and she told us that she wanted to learn more. (She told us she was scared to talk to us because she thinks that gringos are cute) those blue eyes will get ya ;)
But this week, I don’t know what happened, but we just found a bunch of pregnant ladies. Not even kidding. Almost every door we knocked this week we were greeted by a lady with a tank top on and her big pregnant belly exposed to us. It was funny at first, but by the end of the week I was tired of seeing pregnant bellies. Honestly, I think that we knocked into 9 or 10 pregnant ladies, and only 5 listened. I don’t know, maybe it´s that time of year.
We did have another super awesome lesson with Aldo and Laura. Aldo is awesome. We shared on how we can receive an answer if the Book of Mormon is true. We even asked him if he has asked God if the book is true, and he said he hasn´t yet, but he has been asking God why we showed up on his door the same week his brother-in-law passed away. He definitely thinks God is part of this situation. He´s awesome. We´re gonna be working so he can get baptized with his fiancé Laura.
AND! As we were waiting for Aldo to finish something up, there were these 2 little kids that yelled at us from the street who said they were baptized in our church about a year ago. They gave us their address but we didn’t know where it was.. so the day after we were walking and guess who we saw! These kids at their house! We stopped by and found out that their mom is a member and her husband wants to get baptized! His name is Gustavo. He set his own baptismal date. We haven´t had a chance to really sit down and teach him, but we did show him the "He is the Gift" video.
We have mangos everywhere!  We pick them off our tree!  We have a balcony on our pench and part of this tree overhangs our balcony so we just go grab them off of there. :)
I´ve been making this mango ice cream lately.. its SOO good! Sometimes Ii´ll put this mango ice cream in our blender with bananas (30 bananas for a dollar right now) with a little yogurt and juice... its SOO good.

But that’s about it for me. We had Sofia come to church with her aunt and we haven´t had a chance to talk to her parents about her getting baptized, but it was our goal for this week but now with the news of going to Uruguay its gonna change things up a little bit!
As for this week I´ve been studying a lot in Lehi´s dream. I love this story. I think Lehi´s advice is critical in verse 33 and 34

 33  Y grande era la multitud que entraba en aquel singular edificio. Y después de entrar en él nos señalaban con dedo de escarnio a mí y también a los que participaban del fruto; pero no les hicimos caso.
 34  Éstas son las palabras de mi padre: Pues todos los que les hicieron caso se perdieron.
The people that cared what the people in the building were saying "were lost" because they fell away from the tree. We need to just focus on what we know to be true and "no hace caso" to the people that just say things because if we keep reading... Laman and Lemuel never even tried this fruit, how could they have known it wasn´t good?
Keep the Faith. If people are telling you things, remember the basics.
God loves us. Jesus is the Christ. The Book of Mormon is the word of God. I know these things without a doubt in my heart.

With all the love I posess, because I do love you all.
Elder Harris III

Monday, December 1, 2014

Formosa: Week 1

Hey Family! How´s everything going?!
I just want to start off and tell you that I sure do love you. I wish I could just keep saying it, but I really do love you guys. You’re the best!
A good part about Formosa is that I´m in a ward. We get fed a lot. We have lunch with members from Tuesday to Sunday every week, so we are eating well. We also have a sister that washes our clothes and you´ll never believe it - my shirts aren´t yellow anymore! She´s a little magician with her washing machine because my shirts are white again!! I think that hand washing them in Clorinda did some work on them...
As for the area, it’s great. Humble like always, but I still think that Braeden´s area might be more humble. Most of the people in my area live off of the government. They receive their little casitas from the government and also get a little bit from the government each month. Its super funny though, our area is the turn around point of the bus route and there is only 1 bus that goes out that direction if that helps you see that I’m serving in the boonies of the city. :)
But wow, as for this week, it was a great week. None of our investigators came to church, but just like always, give me a few weeks and we will have a solid teaching pool , people getting ready to be baptized then I’ll be home. :) #storyofmylife
We also had a Multi-Zone conference with all the zones here in Formosa. Clorinda, Ibaretta, Formosa 1, 2 and 3. It was good to see some good friends again like Elder Hulme, Elder Simmons, Elder Zivic, etc. It´s always a good time to get together. President Franco did a great job on teaching too. He talked about consecration and how we can be more consecrated to the work and to the Lord. One thing that he said was super interesting that "We came to the mission to be in the mission" not to find a wife, make friends, or anything like that... It was a good reminder of what is my purpose here and to help me think about how I am doing as a missionary and what MORE I can do for the people. Most of the time it comes back to opening my mouth 24/7 - talking to people on the bus, in stores, everywhere. I’m working on it. :)

As for Thanksgiving... can I just say we had a day full of miracles?

So, to start off we said a prayer as we were leaving our pench. The morning was hard. I don’t know why but Elder Brough and I both didn’t have a lot of energy leaving the apartment, so as we knelt to pray right before we left I prayed that right as we got downstairs and to the corner that we could get on the bus, get to our area and work diligently all day long. So as we walked out of our pench, we looked around the corner, and the bus was a half a block away....I just thought to myself "Oh, REAL FUNNY big guy!" Since we were like 2 blocks from the bus stop, we sprinted to get on the bus on time. So we got on just laughing at what had just happened.

Right as we got off the bus we went to a set lesson we had but the lady that we had it set wasn´t there, but her 3 daughters and another girl with a guy were all sitting outside and they let us right in to talk to them. So, it's long story but we did explain how we can receive forgiveness of our sins and change. I studied Grace this week and it honestly is very interesting.
It’s kinda like Laman and Lemuel - they didn’t understand the atonement (1 N 2:12) whereas Nephi did (1 Nephi 1:1). So, Nephi could be faithful to the Lord even though he wasn´t perfect, he understood that the Lord just wanted him to do his best and the Lord would make up the rest. If we´re ever feeling down, we just need to trust in the Lord and His grace.

GAHH I have so much to tell you guys, I just don’t have time. The area is great, we are finding a lot of really great people. One guy named Aldo is super awesome. I’ll tell you about him next week.

One little spiritual thought - Lehi and his family upon leaving Jerusalem left everything behind, then when they got to the wilderness they offered another sacrifice... 1 Nephi 2:7 I think...
But it’s always a good question - what more can I sacrifice? What more can I do?
Our bishop said yesterday that we shouldn´t ever let a Sunday pass by without making someone else´s day better.
I sure do love you, sadly I don’t have enough time. Have a great week. We´ll talk next week. :)
1 Nephi 21:14-16 The Scripture of the Week.
Keep the Faith, we are in His hands.

Elder Harris III