Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Aug. 26, 2013

This week has been absolutely amazing, but very busy! The most lessons we had taught in 1 week was 23 until this week. We taught 30 lessons!!! 17 of those were to our investigators so it was a very beneficial week for us.

I've had 2 very spiritual experiences that I've been apart of on my mission so far.

1) My first blessing I gave was in the MTC to Elder Davidson.

2) My first Baptism!

When we got our bikes stolen, we were walking to our next appointment and street contacted Frank. Frank is 17 years old. He wasn't raised in any religion cause his parents don't believe that religion is necessary in life. But Frank thought differently. He joined a Southern Baptist church cause he said it made him feel good. We talked to him about the Book Of Mormon and he said it was the Bible Part 2! He calls the members of the Church "A.P. Christians" cause we live a higher law. On August 24th, 2013, only a month and a half after we met him, Frank was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. And I was the one that was able to perform that sacred ordinance!!

To recount the experience,

I walked into the room and saw Frank dressed in white at the front of the congregation. He turned around and was beaming with joy as he saluted me. Elder Hickenlooper (My Companion) gave a talk on baptism and the Holy Ghost. Then we made our way to the font. I walked in to the warm water. It was a small font and came up to the middle of my thighs. I looed to the stairs and Frank made his way into the water. Butterflies filled my stomach as he placed his hand on my wrist and his wrist in my palm. I put my hand on his back and smiled at him then raised my arm to the square. At that instant, my nerves settled and the butterflies fluttered away. I had memorized the prayer but there was a cheat sheet in the font if I needed it. I tried to read over it before I said the prayer but his arm was in the way so I just went with what I remembered and let the Spirit guide me. As I said "Amen", he plugged his none and I submerged him. He almost didn't go under all the way cause of the shallowness of the water. But he was completely submerged and I helped him back up. As he looked up at the witnesses to make sure it was done correctly, he lifted his arms into the air and said very loudly, "YES!!" When we walked into the dressing room, we hugged it out for like 2 minutes. I thought I was going to cry when he said he felt like he was home. I love this kid so much. He made the right decision and he knows it. The Lord will bless him as he continues to grow in the Gospel!

Much love, Elder Harris

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Aug. 12, 2013

HELLO FAMILY!!! It's so great to hear from you all!  First, I think some congrats are in order!
Syd and David, I am so excited for you guys!! You are going to be amazing parents! Have you thought about names yet? I think I told you last week that I guessed in my journal that you were going to have a girl. That is just so exciting to hear! Mom, you can't spend more money on her than you will if I have a boy first! ;)
Here's some random pictures-

Just to answer some questions I've been asked.
I am getting pictures on here from you dad but I can't print them or do anything with them afterwards. I love being able to show pictures off to my companion and the other missionaries though so feel free to send me LOTS!!! (that includes you too Syd and David)... :) The same goes with music. I have got one song to come through but I can't listen to it or download it so c.d.'s would be best..
My pants all still fit. I think that most of the weight I've gained is muscle in my legs and arms. I need to work on my pecks so I can come home and beat Dave up! I doubt it will ever happen but it would be a great triumph someday. I do need to lose some weight on my abs though cause their not as hard as they are squishy. OH OH OH!!!

We had 3 investigators at church yesterday. They were Frank, Roger and a new investigator named Jonah.

Frank is 17 and was supposed to be baptized on Saturday. But we found out yesterday that his ex-girlfriend is a month pregnant and it's his kid... So we called our mission president and he said that we need to push it back a week or two to make sure that he's truly repented of this. So after church, we talked to him and told him we would push it back 2 weeks. Towards the end of our lesson, we both had the impression to only push it back a week. He said the closing prayer and I could tell that he was sorry for the mistake that he made and that he was going to take responsibility for the kid and be it's father. I am glad that he is stepping up to the plate and taking responsibility. We will be having his baptism next Saturday and he still wants me to baptize him! I will make sure that I get lots of pictures with him!

Jonah is in his mid to late 30's, maybe early 40's. He is about 5'9 and probably 250 lbs of pure muscle. He was in the Army but was honorable discharged because of P.T.S.D. His P.T.S.D. wasn't because of field combat though; it was because of an abusive childhood from his mother. He has a pretty sad story but he's a great guy! Before he was deported for war, he was taking the lessons from the missionaries. He was almost baptized too but didn't feel quite ready. We now have taught him 4 times and he came to a baptism on Saturday and he likes what he sees. He says that baptism is like marriage and he needs to know it's true before he can get baptized. I agree to a degree but it took him 7 years before he proposed to his wife. Hopefully he won't take 7 years to get baptized but if it does, at least it's because he knows it's true and not just because we want him to.

We still haven't had any big monsoons yet. One decent one and a few dinky sprinkles but nothing big like what I was hoping for. It is a blessing though cause we would have had to bike in it if one hit so I guess it's a good thing! The sunsets are beautiful!

I have been reading the Book of Mormon every day. It has changed my life! I only have 22 pages before I finish it and then I will pick it up again and re-read it a hundred times over! It truly testifies of Christ on every page and is helping me have a stronger relationship with my Heavenly Father and my Redeemer.

I don't have a lot to talk about today. This week flew by! 

Mormon 9:8 - "Behold I say unto you, he that denieth these things knoweth not the gospel of Christ; yea, he has not read the scriptures; if so, he does not understand them." My advice to you, like every week, is to read the scriptures. You will come closer to God by reading them abiding by it's precepts than through any other book. I love you all so much! Keep the faith!!

Love your favorite son/brother/friend/soon-to-be-uncle,
~Elder Harris

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Aug. 6, 2013

This week has been long and stressful. It really didn't have to be but we kind of made it that way because we were thinking about transfers so much. I noticed that it was really hard to focus on the work. I hope that as time goes on, I will be able to learn to focus more on the Lord instead of transfers during transfer week!
I gained 15 pounds in 2 months... I am working out every morning so I don't know if its fat or muscle. I’m using protein mixers called Muscle Milk and that will help build up muscle so I'm not as scrawny!
We had the most incredible miracle this week! So Saturday rolled around and I remembered that it was fast Sunday the next day. I started my fast and fasted for our less-actives and investigators that they would feel the Spirit working in them and they would want to come back to the fold. When we got up on Sunday, we looked at our phone... Wendy L. called...
I don't know if you remember who that is. Wendy L is a less-active in our ward. She was baptized when she was 17 but hadn't been to church in almost 25 years. She is now 41 and was excited to come back. When she attended church in mid-July, she cried the whole time and said she felt like she was back at home! We had p-day on Monday and she asked Elder Hickenlooper to get her some Vitamin C because she was feeling sick. Well, we forgot and showed up on the 20th of July to find out how she was doing. When we showed up, she slammed the door and yelled at us for a good 5 to 10 minutes. She used every swear word in the book and said she would call the cops on us if she EVER saw us on her property again. It was devastating. She felt the Spirit and turned away from it. So we went and got her some Vitamin C and an apology card and left it on her doorstep. In the card we told her if she ever needed anything, we would be there for her.
So 2 to 3 weeks later (this last Sunday) she called us! We called her back and set up a time to see her right after church. She was so excited to see us. She apologized for freaking out at us. She told us that she was on Meth and it was her first time trying it. (From what has been explained to me, Meth makes you feel like your on top of the world. The boss of everything in short). So she apologized and said that she was going back to Catholicism. We are meeting with her later this week and will invite her to come back to Church with us on Sunday. I know that she will feel the Spirit again!
Elder Hickenlooper and I are staying together for another 6 weeks! I think that is a good thing because I know the area and I know the people. I have made 3 goals to apply into my life within the next week.

1) I don't always have to be right. That one has always been a hard thing for me to realize. I love being right. It is the natural, prideful, human side of me that I need to put away. And in these past 6 weeks, I've learned more from being wrong than I have from being right. So I will work on being more humble and not worrying about being "perfect".
2) I will budget my money better. I realized I was spending a lot so I left my card in a safe spot in my apartment and have some cash on me for emergencies. We have meetings on Wednesday and p-day on Monday so we go out to eat on those days. But i started packing food and that seems to be helping. I will get better!
3) The Spirit will tell me all things that I should do. I have learned that focusing on my investigators as I study is a great thing but I don't listen as well when I am in the lesson because I am thinking about what I read about in studies and how that will apply to them. I have really been trying hard to listen to the person I'm talking to instead of thinking what I'm going to say. The only problem is I don't listen as intently to the Spirit so He can tell me what I need to say. So I am working on listening to the person I'm talking to, but just as important is listening to the Spirit.

Everything is going great here! We have a baptism for Frank on the 17 as long as he stays clean. We also have Roger getting baptized on the 24th if he stays clean too. I can't believe 2 months have passed already! Time is flying and I love the work! This truly is the Lord's work and I can see the benefits and blessings that come from being out here. I am so glad that your procedure went well dad. I prayed really hard for you!

Happy Birthday Elder Hickenlooper-

I love you all so much my familia! You are such great influences on me and I can't wait to come home and see you all again! Well I can wait cause I love it here so much but I am excited to see you again!

Much love,

~Elder Harris