Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Sept 23, 2013

Hello Family!! How are you all doing?? Things here are going great!
It has been a very busy week for us here in Tucson. I am training. My Comps name is Elder Curtis Flake. He is from Washington. He is 19, plays football and basketball, and loves to work! He is the kind of guy who just walks up to people and talks to them about the Gospel. He has a very strong testimony and is a great companion. I don't even feel like I am training this transfer! The only problem is he has a hard time getting up and going in the mornings.. I wish I knew how to help him get energized and ready so he's not tired throughout the day. Any ideas?

We had some awesome miracles this week! We were told in the Trainer-Trainee meeting that the last 30 minutes of every day is when the Lord will bless you, if you continue to work hard. So the other night, it was 8:30 and we didn't know whether to go home or to street contact in the dark. I rememered what Sister Killpack (the Presidents wife) said about working the last 30 mintues. So I told Elder Flake that we were gonna go street contacting. So we walked to Fry's grocery store. As we walked, we ran into this guy and girl and started to pass them by. I mentioned how great of a night it was and she stopped to talk to us. She had heard of our church and was really nice. The guy however was trying to pull her away. She insisted they stay and talk and he kept saying they had to go. So we said our goodbye's and walked away. When we were about 50 yards away, I looked back and couldn't get this empty feeling out of my stomach. I looked at Elder Flake and asked him if he was ready to run. He didn't understand until I took of running towards the couple yelling, "Excuse me miss!" We jogged up to them and Elder Flake gave her our number and told her we would love to talk to her about the church. As we walked away, she asked if we had an extra copy of the Book of Mormon with us. We gave her one and she was very grateful. When we got to Fry's, we realized Elder Flake told her our number started with 320... Not 370.... So that was a let down... But she has had the seed planted and hopefully we will run into her again!

I heard a story about a couple that wanted to serve a mission. They said they couldn't go anywhere cold but when they got their call, they were called to Mongolia. They declined the call and about a year later decided they'd try again. They put in bold letters, "WE CANNOT SERVE ANYWHERE COLD!!!" They received their call and once again, it was to Mongolia. They took it as a sign and went on to that cold country. When they arrived, they were called to work in the prison. He was asked to teach the inmates and she was asked to serve in the cafeteria. She couldn't pick up the language and didn't understand anything anyone was saying. About 3 weeks into the mission, she got so frustrated that she went into a cell block that was about 15 stories high and yelled, "Does anybody speak english?" There was no reply. She became even more angry and yelled even louder, "DOES ANYBODY SPEAK ENGLISH???" Up towards the top row of cells, she heard someone yell back "I do!" Of course she immediately became curious and so she and her husband went upstairs to find out who it was. The guard opened the door and they heard a familiar voice say, "Mother, I knew you'd come for me!" This was their son who has run away from home and disappeared for 30 years. They have since returned home and their son will return to live with them again in 7 months. This teaches me 2 very important lessons. 1) There is never a mistake when it comes to where someone should serve. I am called to serve in the Tucson, Arizona mission because there are people that are here that need me. Mom, you are called to serve as a RS teacher. Gavin and Connor, you are called as Presidents to your Quorums. This is no mistake. You have been placed there, just as I have here, because there are people you need to teach and help come closer to Christ. 2) They didn't want to go somewhere cold but they went willingly and humbly. There will be disappointments and we may get frustrated. But if we serve with all our heart, might, mind, and strength, the Lord will bless us more than we can imagine!

One last funny story that happened this Saturday. So our chuch building is about 10 miles away from our apartment. It isn't even in our ward boundaries! But the church is starting to do church tours on saturday nights. So this Saturday was Elder Flake's and I's turn to give those tours. We were there from 6-8. However, that night was also a single adults dance. Everyone was at least 35 years old. They all thought we were there to dance too and so we had to turn some older ladies down. Looks like I am just that good looking! ;) So anyways it was 7:45 and we hadn't seen anyone to give a tour to. So we locked up and turned off the lights. We walked outside and realized we didn't have a ride. It was dark and the sky was overcast. We tried calling some people but no one was answering their phones! So we decided we'd street contact and walk home......Bad idea..... About half a mile away from the church it started to sprinkle. Elder Flake was freaking out that it would be a monsoon but I promptly informed him that it would probably just sprinkle for 5 minutes or so then stop. Seconds later, it started to down pour. It wasn't a monsoon but it wasn't just a light sprinkle. We didn't want our stuff to get wet so we ran under a tree. I jumped over a cactus and made it safely under the tree. Elder Flake however didn't see the cactus. He got hit in the leg and could feel the needles stabbing deeper in with each step. He is the kind of guy that laughs at pain though so that made things a little better. The tree wasn't doing anything to keep us dry so we decided we'd just get drenched and have fun with it. It rained for about 20 minutes and we got soaked. Someone finally picked us up in his cab and took us home for free. But it was a good memory that Elder Flake and I can share! He got all the needles out of leg and has learned his lesson. :)

I want to share 2nd Nephi 28:24. "Therefore, wo be unto him that is at ease in Zion!" Short but powerful. If we aren't progressing in the church, we are degressing. Please continue to feast upon the words of Christ. It isn't supposed to be easy, but it will be worth it!

I love you all so much! Keep the faith!

~Elder Harris

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Sept. 18, 2013

So it is now 7:30 at night and we only have 30 minutes to email. I'm sorry that it is so late! But boy oh boy it has been a busy 2 days! I love my new companion! I was going to get a card reader today so I could put some pictures on the email for you guys but we haven't been able to go to the store yet. We went to a pawn shop to get Elder Flake a bike but we couldn't find one he wanted. So we will go around to some other places tomorrow.

Like I said, this week has been crazy busy!! With the new Elders in the ward, we have been spending a lot of time with them getting the area split and their area book organized. We have our ward list put up on our wall. There are 600 people on the list (included are husband, wife, and kids over 16 living with them) and we've seen over 200 people! So getting them that info is going to be tricky so they know who we've seen and who they should not go see. But I'm sure everything will work out! I was really nervous with taking over the area and training! I got really luck with my companion. He is awesome!  He is already such an amazing missionary!

I read a scripture today in Alma 23:6. It says at the end, "... as many of the Lamanites as believes in their preaching and were converted unto the Lord, never did fall away." It lates goes on to say that the Lamanites were coming to battle against them and instead of fighting, they kept their covenant with the Lord and didn't take up arms against them. Instead, they "prostrated themselves before them to the earth, and began to call on the name of the Lord;" 1,005 of them were killed. But it converted more Lamanites than the number that was killed. What amazing faith they had! But how did they do it? How did they gain so much faith to die for what they believed in and NEVER fall away? I think the answer lies in 2nd Nephi 25:26, "And we talk of Chirst, we rejoice in Chirst, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins." Their lives were focussed on Chirst every day, all the time. They did what it says in 2nd Nephi 32:27, they prayed always and didn't do anything without calling upon the name of our Father. Their lives were centered on Chirst in every way. And that kind of devotion leads to true conversion. They kept all their covenants and promises they made to the Lord and that helped them come closer to the Lord and receive more blessings. We do what is called a 40 fast. What this is is we give up something for 40 days to try to come closer to the Lord. For example, I gave up soda for 40 days. I gave up calling girls hot or smokin or gorgeous. They were small things that may not seem very important or like they would draw me away from the Lord. But by dedicating the fast to coming closer to the Lord and starting with a prayer, I saw more miracles in my life and am becoming the missionary I want to be. I challenge you to look for something in your lives that you can give up for 40 days. Even if its something small like 40 days without soda. Or 40 days without facebook (if that is even possible!).

I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!!! Thank you for the emails and for the packages! Feel free to keep them coming!

~Elder Harris

-       Remember Heb 11:1 - Let your faith carry you!

Sept 17th 2013

I wish I could email more today! I only have 5 minutes because of how busy we are here. I'll email again tomorrow. So quickly I'll tell you about my NEW companion!

His name is Elder Flake. He is about 6 ft., red head (That makes me miss you David!), and very sportsy! We played basketball and he kicked trash! We also walked down 4th Ave today to talk to people. It is a pretty scary place to walk down and contact people because of the stores on the street. It's called FBI Street in the mission. (Food, Beer, Incest). So we usually stay away from that area. But he walked up to people and just started conversations with everyone that he could! IT WAS AWESOME!!! I'm not training him this transfer, he is training me! I will write more tomorrow and try to include a picture! I love you all so much!

~Elder Harris

Monday, September 9, 2013

September 9, 2013

We were really working for Member Present lessons this week. Member Present Lessons are lessons to investigators with a member present. Other lessons are lessons taught to investigators without a member present. Our goal was to get as many MP lessons as we could as a Zone and have a high percentage of MP/Others (I hope that makes sense!) As a companionship, Elder H and I got 8 MP lessons and 0 others! WE GOT 100%!! As for our district, we got 69.1% which is still really good. The winning Zone would get some sort of prize. I hope we win! But if we don't then it doesn't matter. I am proud of Elder H and I.

This week was beyond amazing! I don't think I will ever see so many miracles in an area as we have in this one. I don't even know where to start! So we went to the bible study this Thursday. I was a little nervous because I don't know a lot about the Bible either. But there are just going through chapter by chapter so I knew they would be studying Exodus 25. I studied it of course before hand so that helped my nerves. We tried for 30 minutes to get a member to come to the study with us but no one could come. We accepted the fact that we would have to count this as an "Other" lesson. We showed up and only like 5 people were there this week. 2 of them were new! As we walked in, a little glum that we didn't have a member, one of the guys came up to us and agknowledged us as Elders. He said he was Dave's brother (Dave is the one who put it all together). He then told us that he was happy to have us there and told us he was baptized in our Church in 1986. So it turned out to be a MP lesson afterall! That was one miracle that happened there. The next few were while we were studying. We got off on some tangent about the Spirit world. Dave said, "I believe that there is a Spirit world before Heaven where people that didn't get a chance to hear about God will get a chance to by those who have heard about Him." We were stunned. No one that isn't apart of our church believes that! Right afterwards he said, "I'm the kind of guy who believes in different degrees of glory in Heaven." Our jaws both dropped instantly. I couldn't help laugh our of pure joy! He went on to say that the true church must have Prophets and Apostles on the Earth today. The also showed us a scripture that talks about how boys will see visions. We stopped him and told him about Joseph Smith and the restoration and the Prophets and the Apostles and he said he believed it! He asked us a question. He said, "Where did you get the authority to use the priesthood? I believe that it was taken from the Earth when Christ was killed." We told him how Peter, James, and John appeared to Joseph and restored it. He said he loved the idea and wanted to learn more! We invited him to church along with 3 other people. Unfortunately they didn't make it but he and 2 others accepted a Book of Mormon and said they would start reading it right away!

So that day was full of miracles! Then we had the baptism. Roger A was baptized September 7th, 2013 and confirmed on September 8th, 2013. That was a HUGE miracle!!!! He has been investigating the church since 1995. He has since stopped drinking, some hard-core illegal drugs, problems with the law of chastity, and finally stopped smoking! 3 weeks ago, Elder H and I both were thinking we would have to drop him. He wasn't progressing and couldn't stop smoking. Then out of the blue, he was 14/15 days clean and our Mission President approved him for Baptism! When he was pulled up out of the water after being immersed, he stood there with his arms crossed accross his chest and he was shaking with his head down. He stood there for like 15-20 seconds. I was starting to get a little worried when he suddenly turned around, sniffled, and said, "Hallelujah!" as he walked up the stairs. Sunday he was confirmed. The ward has been here for him through everything. Chuck S was trying to get him moved out his apartment and into his house with him. Brother B hired him in his carpet cleaning company so that he would be in a better environment so he would quit smoking. Brother Chuck S confirmed him. It was the most spiritual blessing I've ever heard. As he was giving the blessing, he told Roger, "Know that your Heavenly Father loves you," then he stopped for a few seconds, then continued with tears in his eyes, "and know that the people in this ward love you." We saw him last night and he was litterally glowing. Normally he is ancy and anxious but he was so calm and there was a difference in his countanence. It is amazing what the Spirit can do to people! He told us he was past the addiction of cigarettes and turned down 5 people today that offered him some. I am so proud of him!

We went to the Temple this week! I LOVED IT!!!! I wish I could go more often but I have to wait for 4 more months... I had a great spiritual experience. I didn't want to leave the Celestial Room because of the way that I felt. The reason that I am telling you all of this is because I want you to go to the Temple this week. All of you. Please try to make it. I wish I could go sooner but I can't so I need you to go for me. Please try to make it. There is so much work that needs to be don't and I know that you will be blessed if you help!

My zone :)

I love you all so much! Write back soon!

Love, Elder Harris

September 3, 2013

This week was a great one! We had the BIGGEST miracle that anyone has ever seen from our mission. Our Mission President cried when he heard it. This is what happened....

So we went on splits earlier this week. I went with a kid named Ryan Bos (He is 19 and just sent in his papers) and Elder H went with a new ward memeber named Matt Smith. We have a new investigator named Charlie. She is in her 70's, black, and from the south. She is so funny! So Elder H went with Matt Smith to go visit her. They showed up at 7 and right then she was walking out of her house. When she saw them she said, "I'm heading to my bible study and you're coming with me!" They were nervous it would be at a church and just turn into a bible-bash but it was just next door in a litle house. As the walked in, there were 3 older women already sitting down. Elder H said he thought he just walked into a sewing party! One of the older ladies named Rose said, "Dave is going to be so happy to see you!" Within minutes Dave pulled into the driveway in a giant van. 10 people got out of the van and came into the house for the study. Dave told us tha he was told by the Lord that "..These are the latter days and we need to prepare for he Second Coming." THOSE WERE HIS EXACT WORDS!!! Basically, he goes and picks everyone up in his van and then they read a chapter from the bible and try to figure out what it says. They eventually had Matt and Elder H take over and lead the study session. As they finished the chapter and Elder H was about to leave, Rose said she wanted to bear her testimony. She told us that she was in the hospital with cancer and bleeding in her brain. The doctors told her and her sons that she had 7 days left to live. The boys came in the next day and said the Lord told them she wouldn't die and they wanted her under house care. The doctors argued and argued but eventually had to let her go. It has now been 3 weeks and the cancer is basically gone. The bleeding in her brain has stopped and she is able to walk again. It is truely a miracle! We asked if we could come back next Thursday and teach them again and they said YES!!! So in other words... WE FOUND 12 NEW INVESTIGATORS THIS WEEK!!! What a miracle! The Lord blessing us more than we could imagine. The next night, Elder H dreamed that we invited them all to be baptized for the same day and they accepted! I know it was inspiration and I am so excited to see what happens wih this group!

So this is the beginning of week 5 of transfer 2. This means that we have 2 weeks till transfers... President came to Elder H's training on Wednesday so he's most likely getting stepped up to Zone Leader this transfer. I have mixed feelings cause we've grown close and accomplishing a lot. But I know that with a new companion, I'll learn a lot and it will help me grow.

Roger is our other black investigator. He is in his 50's and has been investigating the church since 1995. He is finally getting baptized this Saturday! I'm SOOO Happy for him!!! :)

We went to dinner the other night with a family named the Foss family. He said something profound about the Spirit and unfortunately I don't remember what he said! But I wrote down the first thought that popped into my head. It was this.
"Isn't it crazy how we have a member of the God-head with us on this Earth that can guide us and be with us always and yet we don't take the time or effort to come to know or recognize Him." I have been thinking about that since we had dinner with them. So that is my goal and what I would like to extend to you. Do everything you can to focus on the Spirit; the feelings you feel, the ideas that come, and the thing's He's telling you to do. We all could use the Spirit in our lives more and I know that He will NEVER lead us astray.
I love you all so much! Never forget that but more importantly, never forget the Lord loves you! Miss you all! Write back soon!

Much Love,

~Elder Harris