Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Letter From Br. Swegle

Elder Harris,
 Hope this finds you well and working hard!
 Can you please make sure this gets forwarded to your parents?
Brother Swegle

Brother and Sister Harris,
 My name is Brother Chuck Swegle, the Ward Mission Leader here in the Casas Adobes Ward in Tucson Arizona.
 I know what a sacrifice it is to have your son serving a full time mission, and how at this time of year he will be missed by both of you.
 I have had five of my children serve full time missions and I know the blessings that we receive for our sacrifices supporting them in their efforts as missionaries.
 Elder Harris has been of great service to us here in Tucson. His spirit of dedication and service has enabled him to provide a great blessing to members and non-members in our ward.
 I personally appreciate Elder Harris and all that he does to help me in filling my calling. 
 We have a unique situation here in Casas Adobes since we have three companionships serving with us. It is my privilege to work very closely with all of them as we meet together  several times a week, and text each other almost daily so that we can be effective in the work that we are doing. Because of this closeness I really get to know the missionaries very intimately and appreciate all of them.
 I had the privilege of working with your son for six months, and was sorry to have him move on to another assignment, but know it is important for his growth. I have greatly enjoyed getting to know Elder Harris. I have a lot of fun working with him. You can be assured that he truly enjoys the work here. He is not my son but I can say that he holds a place in my heart as a son does.
 In the October Conference, President Monson said “Now is the time for members and missionaries to come together, to work together, to labor in the Lord’s vineyard to bring souls unto Him.” Elder Harris has taken that to heart, and does a great job of working with members in our ward to help them enjoy the blessings of missionary work.
 Thank you for sharing your son with us for the brief time that we have him with us. We truly appreciate him and are grateful for him and you for enabling this to happen.
 With Love and Gratitude,

Brother Chuck Swegle

Monday, December 23, 2013

December 23, 2013

Hello Family!! I am so happy to hear that everyone is safe! I hate driving in the snow honestly... But it rained a little here but if you weren't driving in it, you would never have known! The only reason we knew is cause after a while, we had to use our windshield wipers just once so we could see a little clearer.  Sounds like y'all had a busy week! That really helps the week go by faster. It didn't go by super fast for me but it wasn't bad. I am just living life day by day and looking at the good things that I have! I have a lot to tell you about though so lets get started, yes? :)

We don't have any super solid investigators as of yet but we had such a great miracle happen yesterday! So for the past week we have been praying for investigators or at least potentials. And we have been tracting at least an hour a day. We were trying for 2 but 2 straight hours of tracting isn't very time efficient and gets old pretty quickly. But we have been tracting A LOT and haven't had much success. We ran into a lady named Mary. She is in her 70's and said that she wasn't really interested in hearing our message. We just got to talking about life and Christmas and we agreed on a lot of stuff! She mentioned that her husband passed away about 2 months ago and that had been affecting her a little bit so that gave me the perfect in to talk about the Plan of Salvation. She liked the idea of it but she wasn't sure if it was true or not. We then asked if she believed in the Bible, which she did. I asked "If there were people here in America when Christ came to the Earth, do you think that he would want his gospel established here as well or just over in Jerusalem?" She responded here as well and we agreed obviously! We talked about the Book of Mormon and explained what it was. She said that at one point she was reading into the Mormon church but something turned her off to it. But that was a LONG time ago and she couldn't remember what it was so she said that she would read some of the book and pray about it. We weren't able to set up a return appointment with her cause she said she didn't want company right now but we will definitely be contacting her after the Holiday! Anyway, that wasn't the miracle, just a side story. The Miracle happened while we were at Elder's Stocks and Collins apartment waiting for them to get ready for our meeting at 2. We received a call from an unknown number so Jones let me answer it. I put it on speaker so everyone could hear. She introduced herself as Jane Sun and said that she called the Mormon Temple looking for information and they gave her our number. We talked for a little about her schedule so we could find out when she could meet. We agreed on this Thursday at 1. She will call or text us by Thursday to let us know where she lives! But WE HAVE A POTENTIAL INVESTIGATOR!!! :) :) I am super stoked!

Next, I had a dream Saturday Night/Sunday Morning. I woke up and it stayed in my mind very clearly for a while. I remembered that you (dad) advised me to write down my dreams in my journal, so I did! I dreamed that I was in the conference center in Salt Lake. It was PACKED full of people. I wasn't sitting down in the crowd though, I was on the side standing next to the stage. I was wearing all white (white shoes, shirt, tie, suit coat... you know what I mean). Elder Jones was there next to me and he was in all white too except he was in a wheel chair. I don't know how I knew what was happening but I knew that I would be coming onto the stage to confirm someone a member of the church then Elder Jones would confirm someone else. I also had the job of running into the back to get a big bouquets of roses for the speaker that night. I was motioned by someone on the stage to go get the flowers so I took off running into the hallways in the back behind the stage. As I turned a corner, I ran into 3 people. President Killpack, Someone I don't remember, and President Thomas S. Monson. I walked up to the prophet and shook his hand in complete awe. I remember being filled with the most amazing feeling and when he spoke to me, it was the most peaceful noise I had ever heard. I don't know if I am remembering correctly but I think he said "Don't look so amazed Elder Harris. This won't be the last time you shake a prophets hand." Then I ran into the back and got the flowers. That is all I really remember. So the cool thing about this dream is I told Elder Jones about it as we were getting ready for church. THEN I went to Sunday School. Guess what we were talking about in class... PROPHETS!!! I was able to share my dream and my testimony. It was such a great experience! I don't really know what the dream means or if it means anything at all. But I loved it!

Elder Jones is a very forgetful person.... I mean VERY!!! He doesn't remember my name a lot of the time and has to look at my nametag when we are teaching. It is kinda embarrassing actually. I poke at him for it and he pokes back at me for being so hyper and ADHD-like. I laid in bed on Thursday and thought about him and his memory and came to the conclusion that it isn't his fault. Not at all! I think that it has to do with some connection in our brains that allows us to recall things easier. For an hour I thought about if I could help him out at all. I came up with the idea to find out what part of your brain helps you recall things then figure out how to stimulate that particular lobe, maybe with some sort of pill? It would take FOREVER to do and even longer to test and make sure it won't kill people but I think finding cures for things would be such a rewarding job! I don't know if it is fun per-say but it would make me feel good knowing I was helping a lot of people.

I had the coolest insight while I was responding to the Muhlestein’s Christmas card. I was talking about how we can find peace in a world full of hate and strife. My suggestion and what the apostles suggest too is to implement the "Primary Answers" into our lives. Of course we associate this answer with the primary class. But for some reason, my mind thought about the game Call of Duty. I remembered that when I would make my character, I would also choose a primary weapon and secondary weapon. My primary weapon was usually the most powerful resource I had. In the game we know that we are going to be facing challenges and trials but we don't know what they are going to be. They could be dogs or bombs or terrorists. So we choose what weapon works best for us and press forward no matter what comes in front of us. When relating that to the term "Primary Answers", I realized that it is the same concept. In life, we don't know what is going to come against us. It could be bible-bashers or disease or even just angry thoughts towards someone else. All of these things are keeping us away from our goal. So we need to choose what "primary" weapon we are going to arm ourselves with in these last days to fight against Satan and his army. May I suggest the "primary answers"? They are all so simple but yet so powerful! Reading our scriptures daily, praying constantly, attending church regularly, paying tithing. All of these things are so simple but they have the most amazing effects on us and on those around us. Just as Alma 37:6-7 says, "By small and simple things are GREAT things brought to pass." I just thought that was a really cool mental connection I made! :)

I have set up Wednesday for Skyping! We are going to a members house at 1 o clock and have till about 4 or so, maybe later. There are 4 of us going there. They have 4 computers and an ipad but we aren't sure if their internet can handle 4 skype calls going at the same time. I can't wait to talk to you guys!!! I don't even know what to skype about but I know that it will be great! I love you!!

~Elder Harris

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

December 16, 2013

Hello Family and Friends! I cannot believe that it is already December 16th! It seems like just yesterday I was saying goodbye to the family up at BYUI. Thank you dad for reminding me it has been 1 year almost to the dot. That makes me feel old and is making time go by WAY to fast! It has been one crazy week! Things are getting better between Elder Jones and I. We do of course have our little arguments but it isn't as bad as it was when we first got together. I think that we have realized that we both are trying to be good missionaries and we both want to be obedient. We also broke a wall down between the two of us that has helped us grow closer. It is a great story that goes like this!

So it was Thursday night. I had just burned my tie (I will tell you about that in a few!) and we were on our way to do exchanges. Elder Stock is our District Leader and with the amount of elders in our zone plus "The Day" he has to do an exchange every week. So we decided we would do the first exchange and I would go to his area with him and kill it over there! But as we called to verify those plans, Elder Collins and Stock (Collins is his comp) decided that Jones would go to their area and Stock would come to our area with me. But Elder Jones didn't like that one bit. He got very upset. I wanted to help him calm down so I said a prayer. I asked Heavenly Father to help me know what to say to break through to him and help him realize that he is acting like a child and help him grow. As I approached him, I could tell that he was holding back tears and wasn't really in the mood to talk. So I sat down by him and asked if I could talk to him. He glanced at me in anger and turned back towards his desk. I started off telling him that it doesn't matter what his feelings are or were towards me that I was his brother and would love him even if he didn't love me back. I explained that if we wanted to be effective in this area and be friends at the end of this transfer that we would have to change something here and talk about our feelings and thoughts, not just yelling at people. His face showed some signs of cooling down but he wouldn't look away from his desk. I continued by saying that there were 2 things that I've learned so far on my mission. 1) The mission is full of unexpected changes that we would have no say about such as dinners cancelling on us 30 minutes before the scheduled appointment. We can't change that so we have to learn to accept it and go with the flow. 2) The mission has nothing to do with our wants and desires. It is ALL about what the Lord can do with us in His hands, if we let him. If Stock (who is our district leader) felt impressed to come to this area with me instead, he probably has a good reason for it. Perhaps I may be staying after this transfer and you will be leaving. That would help me get to know my area better by taking over. Jones looked at me and told me that he was not comfortable leaving the area. I told him that I heard a quote once that said, "There is no growing in the comfort zone and no comfort in the growing zone." If he wanted to be a better missionary and he wanted to change peoples lives, he would need to work harder to grow a little more and that includes going out of our areas and working with other people. He had calmed down but was deep in thought. I looked at him and said, "I love you bro. The Lord loves you too. And just as important, your family loves you and is so proud of you for deciding to come on a mission." That is when he broke down. I stood up and walked over to him then helped him up. We hugged it out for about a minute or so as he tried to stop crying. I suggested that we kneel and say a prayer and asked him if he would say it. I don't remember what was said in the prayer but I know that he learned a lot and I did as well from our talk. I really like Elder Jones. I do. He isn't the easiest to get along with but I have learned so much from him about patience and that no one is going to be the perfect companion (except maybe Elder Flake. (; ha!) So I left the area and went to Elder Collins and Stock's. We didn't do very much because Collins is pretty apostate and loves rock music and cartoons so he listens to his headphones and watches movies all day. UGH!

Anyway... I TURNED 6 MONTHS OLD THIS WEEK!!!! To celebrate, I burned a tie :) I went to a member’s house after dinner and we wrapped the tie around a stand that was in the fire-pit in their backyard. To top it off, we put a lighter on top of it and then drowned it in lighter fluid. Elder Jones lit it for me and we watched it go up in flames. I forgot about the lighter until about 2 minutes into the burning. So I stepped back and warned everyone to be careful that it didn't explode and hit them. Right as I was saying "Look out for the lighter", the bottom of the lighter melted and a fireball shot out of the fire about 6 feet into the air! I got it all on video! :) It was SOOOO tight!

The only other big thing that happened this week was at church. Elder Jones has a tendency to fall asleep when he feels bored. So in a lesson earlier this week, he was out on the couch. IN A LESSON!! Oooooo I was mad.... Then in sacrament meeting, he fell asleep again. I budged him a few times to wake up but he kept falling asleep so finally I just left him. Then after church, a member that was sitting behind us, walked up to me and said, "Your companion would be a lot more effective and learn more if he stayed awake. Don't you agree?" I admitted he was right and told him I would just sock him next time he fell asleep. After church was Ward Council. The bishop only wanted 2 missionaries to be in there to save room so we let elder Jones and Collins go in. After the meeting, I find out that Jones fell asleep in there too! And the Bishop told him multiple times to wake up! Ugh... I don't know what to do! We are going to bed on time and working out and eating breakfast. Maybe I will just give him a lot of caffeine before church and see if that helps... :P

As for skype!!! It will be on Christmas day. I will be able to Skype you for sure. We are going to a members house and they will give us lots of time to talk! I don't know what time but I do know that it will happen. I believe that they allow us to call home the day before and get it all set up so you know what time. I will try to have more information next time!

I think that is about it! I love you all so much! :) I think about you every day! Don't forget to say your prayers and read your scriptures!

~Elder Harris

Thursday, December 12, 2013

PHOTOS!! Finally!!

Gila Valley Temple

 Bible Study Group with the missionaries

 Elder Harris and Elder Flake- besties

mmm big bugs!

mm . . . mmm . . . mmmm real food!

Good times! Fun Memories!!

Ride alongs with the fire department 

mustache . . . 

thank you for the funny lip sucker mom!

look mom . . . we are wearing our helmets 

Lots of new friends!

chillin' by the pool

modeling our new sweaters with our manly smiles

Tucson Sunsets

December 12, 2013


Home sweet home sounds bitter cold! Elder Flake and I were walking to get the car at 5:30 this morning and we were FREEZING!!! We called this information hotline that we have saved on our phone to find out how cold it was. It was 30 degrees. I was shivering like crazy! Then I checked Lehi.... It was 2 below Zero this morning.... I am SOO glad that I am here instead of there, just for the weather of course! I am working on getting chirstmas presents but it is hard knowing what to get everybody. I have something for each of the boys but that's about it.... What do you want that I could send you as a surprise?? ;)
Transfers were today. Turns out that I'm not getting transferred! All that packing for nothing.... Just kidding! I have been transferred to the West Zone of Tucson and I am in the Thornydale Ward. Out apartment address is... unknown at this point. My campanion is only 6 weeks out and taking over the area. We live at "The Springs". It is a complex on Silverbell in Marana. I found it on google maps but it doesn't have the exact address... 7548 North Silverbell Road, Marana is a park right accross the street to our apartment. It is actually a pretty nice part of town! Much nicer than the other part I was in before. I don't tell very many details about the other place because I don't want to scare you but lets just say I am a lot safer in this part of town. My new companion is Elder Jones! (I like his last name). He is from North Ogden and is 18. I am actually a little nervous about how I am going to get along with him. What we were told when we got the transfer calls from our AP's (Assistants to the President) is that the West Zone is has a lot of really apostate missionaries and it is majorly effecting the work. There hasn't been a baptism here in a while and the numbers show how little work is actually done. So they said President is sending all of the missionaries that he trusts and knows will pick things up to the West Zone to help it get back into shape. Most of the really apostate missionaries are either going home this transfer or are being transferred themselves. So I know that things are going to pick up here! Our District Leader is Elder Stock. He is one of my favorites over here! He is super funny and just like me in so many ways! He is random and outgoing and loves the mission! We both have nerdy companions who like to play games like yu-gi-oh and "magic" (a card game which isn't allowed...) So we are going to have to work with them and get them to be the missionaries the Lord knows they can be!
Yesterday was my goodbye day. All we did was ride around and say goodbye to as many people as we could! The hardest part about my mission is the goodbyes.... First I had to say goodbye to my family and friends. Then I got here and had to say goodbye to my comfort zone. Now I have had to say goodbye to my favorite companion and my almost-home ward that I have been in for 6 months and the friends I have made there. Then in 18 months, I am going to have to say goodbye to the only thing I know and just leave this all behind. If I didn't know what awaits me when I get home or what comes after my mission, I would be super depressed and down in the dumps. It is a lot like the Plan of Salvation. We were living with our Heavenly Father and brother Jesus Christ in heaven. We were told we would have the most amazing opportunity to come to Earth and have experiences that would help us in our future lives. So we said goodbye to our friends up there, to our family, and to our Heavenly Father. We came to this Earth knowing just about as much as I did when I first got off the plane here in Tucson, NOTHING! Then we make lots of friends and make families of our own to remind us of what we used to have. Then someday we are going to have to say goodbye to the people here, our friends and our family, and pass over into the next part of life. If we didn't know that we would be able to return to live our Heavenly Father and our families, I don't know if we would have made the choice to come to Earth in the first place! Who would give up the greatest thing you could ever ask for knowing you wouldn't be able to come back to it. So it is with my mission. Had I not known I would be coming back to you back home, I don't know if I would have come. But because of that knowledge that I do have, I came here and temporarily gave up something I love dearly for something I needed to do. Just like leaving heaven, we needed to come here to earth. But it is only temporary. I will come home to you again. And We will all return to live with our Heavenly Father again! I am SOOOOO happy that I have been raised in the church and in an envirorment where I could grow closer to my Heavenly Father than I ever could have. I don't think I have ever really thank you enough for raising me the best way I could ever ask for. Thank you mom and dad for being my mom and dad. Thank you for your examples and letting me lean on your testimony when I didn't have my own to lean on. Thank you for helping me understand the Gospel and see how much it blesses my life. I love you.
Sunday night we were riding home on our bikes and this guy on the sidewalk yelled to us "Have you guys seen any cops around here recenly?" We responded no we hadn't then went over to talk to him. He introduced himself as Aldin and invited us over to his place just down the street. We got to his house and this HUGE black great dane ran around the corner. He barked only a few times before Aldin said something in Arabic and it stopped barking. He explained that he was in the army. He is an E7 rank (I don't know what that means) and he was the medic. He also said that his dog was an army dog too. She was assigned to him to keep him safe when he is out in Afghanistan or Iraq. The dogs name is Bear but he calls her Lola Bear. I think that name fits her size pretty well! Anyway, he was telling us that he had been to Afghanistan 3 times and all 3 times he had Bear with him. This one time, he was setting up a lookout post with some afghani's with 2 other men from his patrol. Lola Bear was with him of course. Anyways, one of the afghani's was working with Alkaeda (Alk-eye-duh) and he was ordered to kill Aldin and his fellow troops. As Aldin and the guys had their backs to him, he pulled up his gun to shoot them. But he forgot about Bear. Bear ran over and bit his throat and aparently it didn't come out of her mouth but separated it from the rest of his body. ( I am trying to make this as g-rated as possible!) Aldin told us that he had pictures of the aftermath but we declined and told him that we would be alright! Then he grabbed Bear and was talking in that baby voice people do saying, "Oh you took that bad guy out didn't you! You saved daddies life by ripping out his throat didnt you!" (sorry, I don't know how to make that g-rated....) It was super funny but that made us even more nervous to pet her... We didn't have our backs to her ever cause we didn't want her to attack us! 
I am super excited for the new transfer. I guess that my area is pretty good and we are in a car!  I love you all so much! I wish that I had more time to email but I don't unfortunately. I have been on here for a while already and my time is almost out. But I think that we will be able to Skype for Christmas! :) I will try to get more information this week but I don't have the resourses currently. Let me know what to get everyone for Chirstmas! I will try to get it this week and send it home with my ornament! I LOVE YOU!!!

~Elder Kyle Harris