Tuesday, November 26, 2013

November 25, 2013

Hello Family!

How have you been? Well I know how you've been because of your emails so you don't need to answer that question.. :P I have been SUPER good! I wouldn't give up my mission for anything at this point! Well maybe not anything but most things. Worldly things is a good way to put it. I wouldn't give up my mission for any worldly things. :)

This week was a super good one! Except for last Monday... I don't know why but I was in a bad mood. I mean everything was fine, all except for the mood I was in. I was a little grumpy I think. And I did something really dumb. It is funny now that I look back at it but it was really dumb and I felt like a child when it happened. It all started after sports. I realized that I forgot that I needed to email President. We were at home and Elder Flake was about to get into the shower. I was changing too and I told him that we needed to get the computer key so i could email president. After a few minutes of him getting back into some clothes, we walked to the front office. It was about 4:45 and the office closes at 5. When I walked in, I explained my situation and told them it would only take me a few minutes to email him. They just said that I could use one of the computers in the office behind the counter. So I got on and started emailing as fast as I could. Elder Flake just started laughing for some reason. I couldn't figure out why but he was almost falling out of his seat cause something was so funny. When I asked him what was so funny, he just looked at my shirt. I looked down...... I forgot to put on a white shirt and tie over my garment top... I was SOOOOO embarrassed!!! I finished emailing as quick as I could and I ran back to the apartment. When I got back, I realized that no one who isn't a member of our church realized that it was my underwear. It looks just like a white undershirt. So even though no one else really knew, it was super embarrassing and made me kinda mad at myself. As we went out for the night, I told myself that I would be in a better mood and just forget that it happened. When we showed up to Ben and Amanda's, they were just rolling a cigarette as we showed up. It was their first one that day and we caught them in the act! They let us actually take their tobacco and told us that they would get off of smoking and off of weed before the 7th! When we were about to leave, Nevaeh asked if we could say a prayer first. How could we forget?! Aleeyah is 3 and she wanted to say it. So Elder Flake helped her out. As she prayed, this thought came into my head. "This is such a sincere prayer. I am sure that Heavenly Father is hearing this right now." I got a really warm feeling in my chest and a though popped into my head. "Can you imagine how many angels are here in this room right now?" I closed my eyes and I thought I could see the room filled with angels. It was a great experience and it really changed my perspective on prayers.

I got your package on Tuesday! I LOVED IT!!! It was my care-package for sure! I pulled everything out and immediately started going through the pictures. THANK YOU!!!! I love them all so much! I will send you guys a letter this week with my memory card in it. With the memory card you just sent back, it still has all the pictures on it that I sent to you. Did you get all of those pictures onto your computer? I haven't deleted them yet cause I want to make sure that they are all saved. :)

I met a General Authority this week! His name is Paul V Johnson. We has a half mission conference where he and his wife spoke. Before it started, all of us missionaries (remember it was only half the mission) lined up in a single file line all the way around the gym and he and his wife walked around and shook everyone’s hands! When they got to me, they asked me where I was from. I said "Lehi, Utah!" He responded with "Did you go to Lehi High?" She then perked up and was like "That’s the pioneers, right?" I nodded and said, "Yes it is." I then started saying "But that's not as bad as...." and she started saying "I'm a..." At the exact same time, we said "Beat-digger"... I was dissing on a General Authority's wife.... He laughed and said "Elder Harris, we will remember you." I felt SOOO bad!! I walked up to them after the meeting and apologized. She just laughed and said that it was okay! She knew that I was just joking and I didn't mean any harm by it. Man I was so nervous she would hold that against me. But the meeting was great! Here are some things that I picked up from the meeting.

"Love is the Key to missionary work."
"When I go home, I will be the member missionary that I wish I had here in my ward!"
"The Lord won't open the doors of peoples homes until we are ready to go inside."
"We didn't call ourselves to the work. The Lord did. And just as President Monson said, 'Whom the Lord calls, He qualifies.'"
"The Savior never focused on Himself. So as his representative, neither should I."

It was such a great conference! Speaking of conference, this week was also our Stake Conference. Saturday night was the adult session. They started off the meeting like normal, a hymn and a prayer. Then they were told they would sing the 2 verses of "Called to Serve" then there would be a bridge, then they would sing the 2 verses again standing. Little did they know that we had a surprise for them! In the gym, which is right behind the chapel, all of us missionaries were lined up. When they sang the word "King" at the end of the second verse, the curtains in the back opened up and we started to march forward. There are 44 of us missionaries in the Tucson Zone and all of us were lined up. We marched into the chapel in our 2 lines and sang the first verse of "Called to Serve". When we finished that verse, we were lined up all the way around the chapel. The adults in the stake stood up and we all sang the 2 verses of "Called to Serve" again in unison. There were so many people that were in tears and couldn't sing. It was FANTASTIC!! I love this stake so much! What an awesome experience for them and for us. I was thinking about the work and as we sang, I totally thought to myself that if the members and the missionaries worked together as well as we sing together, this work would be unstoppable!!

 It rained for 2 days straight!! It was so great! It was freezing though and so I wore my sweater that you guys sent me. :) We realized after trying to avoid puddles for about 5 minutes that we were gonna get soaked anyways. So we started riding right through the puddles! The drainage system here is terrible though and so the roads were starting to flood. One road, "Navajo" had a river running down the middle of it! We got our cameras out and started videotaping as we rode down the river! It was at least 3 or 4 inches deep. SO MUCH FUN!! I also learned that "Kai Te'e O Mate" (K-eye-a-tay-oh-ma-tay) in Tongan means "Eat poop and die." I haven't said it to anyone so don't worry about that! Just something I learned from one of the members. :)

I love this area so much! But this is week 5. So next week is week 6. That is the last p-day I will have in this area. I can't believe how fast everything is going! Not next Monday, but the Monday after that will be transfers. I think that that is the 9th. So don't expect an email till the10th or 11th. :)

I love Elder Flake! He is such a great missionary. We stayed up till about 12:30 last night just talking and going over memories together. He is a stud and I know that when I get home, we will still be friends!

I love you all so much! Have fun and be safe with your travels! Connor, good luck in your soccer games! I know that you will do great! Score a goal for me! Gavin, I am really trying to hit 185 but I just hit 150 this last week. If I don't hit 180 but the end of the transfer then I am sorry. I only have 30 minutes a day though to work out so give me a break! ;)


~Elder Kyle William Harris 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

November 18, 2013

Hello Family and Friends! I can't believe that it is Monday already! It seems like just yesterday I was on here emailing you all! But I don't mind! That is just less time that I feel like I have to wait to talk to you guys!

GAVIN: I cannot believe that you are up to 185! Honestly... You can bench more than me... I think I hit 150 just the other day... So my goal before I leave this area is I will hit 185. Let me know when you hit 200!  You are getting so BIG!!! I cannot believe it! Soon you will be able to beat me up, Maybe! ;) Don't crash my truck please! That is my baby from home and I want to be able to drive it around a little when I finish things here. I know you like rap music so here is a suggestion that I think you might like that would make mom and dad happy too. There is an artist named Lacre I think. His album is called Gravity. LOOK IT UP! It is Christian rap so it doesn't swear or talk about anything bad but it would pound the bass in the truck!

Connor: How have you been doing buddy?? I brag to everyone that you are a drummer and we even had a member trying to look up your videos on facebook! But we couldn't find it... How has school been? I hope its going well! No girls yet, right? ;) You play in St. George for thanksgiving huh? Hey, let me give you some advice... Are you listening? Don't let the other team score and you might win. Tell that to your team and convince them you are a genious! ;D

Mom: So the girl that called is named Becky. She is so cool! She is 20 and went to chile' on her mission. But after 6 months out, she had some heart problems and so she had to come home for surgery. She wants to go back out but the mission headquarters doesn't think she will... Sad day.... Anyway, her sister is 35 and lives in our ward. So the two of them took Elder Flake and I out to a Chinese Buffet. It was so great! Untill Elder Flake and I decided that we would eat the most disgusting looking thing we could find. We chose oysters. It was about 3 inches long and the part you eat looked like someone took their spit, mixed it with their mucas then put it into a shell. It smelled like cat urine.... We counted to 3 and I dumped it into my mouth. Elder Flake spit his out immediately and i just let it sit in my mouth. My gag reflex wouldn't let me swallow it. Finally after like 5 seconds of holding it in, I forced it down and kept it down! But I was drinking Dr Pepper so everytime I burped in my throat, it tasted like oysters.... I didn't eat anything else for dinner... But it was still so much fun! After dinner, she asked for your number so she could call you and tell you about me. Right as you guys were finishing, she put the phone on speaker and I heard you say through your tears, "Thank you so much." I admittedly broke down and started to cry too. But it was just perfect! It helped me realize that I will be home soon and this mission here isn't forever! I don't want to come home but I can't wait till I do!

Dad: I am writing in my journal every night and trying to put a lot of detail into it for the future! On youtube there is a channel that I believe is called "After Ever After". It is basically songs about disney movies and what happened after happily ever after. It is SO funny! I think you might like it :)

We had such a scary experience because of a dumb choice we made. We were on exchanges and I was with my District Leader Elder Smith in our area. We were visiting less actives and we had this one we were visiting that no one had heard from since they read the records in 15 years before. So we showed up and the gate was locked. It was only like 4 feet high. We didn't have a number to contact her and we didn't know what to do. Admittedly I wanted to show my DL that I wasn't scared to make decisions so I said, "Lets jump the fence! We have to find out!" We walked up to the door timidly and knocked on it. A man opened it immediately. He was big and had a really long scruffy beard. The first words that come out of his mouth were, "How the [heck] did you get into my yard?!" We explained who we were and tryed to explain our reason but he interupted and asked again "How the [heck] did you get into my yard?!" Without being about to really answer his question he pointed at the ground, stared into each of our eyes, and said, "Don't move from that spot." Then he turned around and walked inside. I thought 2 things were gonna happen. 1) he was gonna shoot us. Or 2) He was gonna call the cops. Luckily, neither happened. He walked us out the gate, opened it up and explained that we had come to the right house but the member we were looking for has been really sick and that she was sleeping for the first time in a few weeks. He said the only reason the cops weren't there was because we didn't wake her up. We apologized over and over and he said that it was fine but never to come back. We agreed and walked away. Boy... That was super scary.... Elder Smith said we were never jumping fences again! I agree. :)

I heard two things that I would like to share with you.

"When reading the Book of Mormon, we should never turn the page until we've learned something from that page." How true this is! The Book of Mormon is meant for us and everything in there is meant to be applied for each and every one of us. I have been trying to learn something from every page and i realized that a lot of the lessons I learn are a repeat of ones I've previously come up with. That is because the Lord works with repitition. So maybe that is a sign to me about what I need to change.

"The best things to do with downward moving escalators is go up them! Well, think of this analogy. We are like faith and the world is like a downward moving excalator. If we stop moving up, we will always go down." It is so true to! If we don't progress, we will degress. Faith isn't meant to linger. It is like the seed analogy in Alma 32. If a seeds just sits on the counter, it will die. You have to nourish it, plant it, and take care of it! So it is with our faith. If we just let it sit around, it will diminish and die.

I challenge you guys to look for the simple ways that you feel like you can strengthen your faith and then DO THEM! That is the part I have a hard time with.



~Elder Harris

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Nov. 12, 2013

Hello Everyone!! I am so sorry that I didn't get a chance to email yesterday. Because it was Veterans Day yesterday, the Library was closed. And so we were asked by our zone leaders just to email today. This week has been a pretty average week, Full of ups and downs! I loved it though. The mission just brings me to my lowest of lows then shoots me up to the highest of highs! I have definitely learned to rely on the Lord for strength and happiness (especially when we are biking up 1/3 mile long hills...)
I am 5 months old today! It does not seem like 5 months have passed by already!
Elder Flake chipped his tooth somehow and so we are going to the dentist today. The dentist called us and said they would need his insurance information. He didn't have it so they asked him to call home and get that. He was so excited!! Just before he called, I suggested that he call Sister Killpack and make sure that that would be all right. He called and of course she said no! She said she thinks she might have that info in the database somehow and would give it to the dentist. I hope I never have to worry about that. 
Now about the work! Like I said, we have had some up's and down's. Lets start with the downs. The biggest downer was that I wasn't able to email you guys yesterday! ;) We had a less-active that was dating an investigator. They were serious about coming to church and he said he really wanted to baptize her! When Sunday rolled around, they never showed up... We went over to check on them and he said that he didn't know what he wanted to believe right now and so he was just going to stick with the Bible and see how things played out. Kit (the investigator living with him) said that she just went to a Baptist church down the street. She said she really liked it cause it was only 1 hour. We asked if she wanted to come to our church and she asked how long it was. When we said 3 hours her face turned ghost white and she had this look on her face that told me what her answer would be. "3 HOURS?!" We explained that it was divided into 3 different parts but that just made things worse. She told us that she would just start going to Baptist church instead and we didn't need to come back. It reminds me of a story by Glen Beck. It is called "The Unlikely Mormon". Its hilarious! But Glen finds out how long our church is and says to his Mormon friend, "If your God can't get the point across in 1 hour, then He's not as powerful as my God!" He eventually realizes that the church is true and joined. I hope that Kit has that same change of heart someday!
Something really funny happened this week! We got a call from one of our investigators named Linda on Sunday. She is 42 and Hispanic. She stopped us about 2 weeks ago on the street and you could smell the alcohol on her clothes and in her breath as she talked and said she wanted to stop drinking. Anyways, she called and is in tears and says, "If something happens to me, will you call 911?" We ride our bikes over there as fast as we could! We get to her house and her door is open and the couch is in the middle of the room. We can hear her crying. So we called her name and asked if we could come in. Without an answer, we walked in. She saw us and was like, "Thank goodness! I'm so glad you two are here!" Then she started crying even harder, when we asked what was wrong, through her tears she hysterically yelled and pointed to a corner of the room, "RAT!!!!!!!!!!" We got a jar and a mop and got the baby mouse outside and let it go. She calmed down a little bit and we tried to have a discussion with her. But she was, of course, super drunk. So we found her beer and Elder Flake picked it up and asked if he could pour it out. She glared at him, ran over and grabbed the drink out his hand. She was like, "Don't touch my beer or I'll touch your beer!" Then she started chugging. She sat down and started to smoke. Elder Flake asked if he could have her cigarette and if he could put it out. She took 3 big hits from it and handed it to him. As he threw it outside, she said, "It's okay. I have more right here next to me." Obviously she wasn't getting the point. Somehow we got on the topic of what she was doing tonight that made her stop drinking. Out of nowhere, she yells, "I AM A PROSTITUTE!" Elder Flake and I couldn't stop ourselves from giggling! We did really well to hide it and we didn't make any noise. But she kept rambling on about what she does to make money and was concentrated on her beer. As we left, we asked her to call us later that night to make sure she was okay. 15 seconds after we left, we were still on her road about 2 blocks from her house, she called and asked, "Hey Elders, it's Linda. Are you guys coming over tonight to talk to me?" We explained that we had and she swore on her life that we didn't come over. In a matter of seconds, she forgot that we came over! We broke out into laughter when we hung up. I feel so bad for her but she won't keep any commitments to change. If she doesn't come to church on Sunday and doesn't keep her commitments, I am afraid that we may have to drop her.
But on a happier note, Ben and Amanda are going to be married on December 20th and then Ben is going to baptize Amanda on the 21st! I am so excited for those two! They are progressing faster than I could have ever imagined! This week, she told us that she never thought that she would accept our church. She said that her and Ben had talked about it before and she said she would NEVER join. But Luckily she had a change of heart! I wish that I could be here for that! I have been in the same area for 5 months now and I don't think I am going to be here for another transfer... I could be but the odds are definitely not in my favor... We will see here in 4 weeks though!
I love you all so much! I can't wait to talk to you guys in a month or so! I hope that this week is a good one for you! Be safe and know I love you!


~Elder Harris

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Nov.4, 2013

My Dearest Family and Most Beloved Friends,
This Monday morning has been simply awesome! It is about 65 or 70 degrees outside at 10:15 a.m. and it will only get about 10 or 15 degrees hotter today. It rained 2 nights ago! It was Elder Flakes 2nd rainstorm in Arizona and it was at 9:45 p.m. We heard the rain, jumped out of bed, and played in it till about 10:30! It wasn't even raining very hard but just rain in general makes me giddy. :p
I don't really know where to start with my week! Have definitely had some ups and downs. I guess I will start with Roger. Roger was our 2nd convert baptism. He is in his 50's, black and only has 2 teeth. He is a "recovering addict" of over 30 years of smoking and drinking and only had 1 cigarette in 3 months! He is such a stud and I love him so much! He unfortunately wanted to go back to Las Vegas where he lived for 30 years. His 3 daughters and 1 son lives there. He would work back with the same Taxi company he worked for 15 years. Last Saturday he told us he was leaving and on Wednesday, he was gone. We went with him to the airport. Our Ward Mission Leader drove us all there. On our way however, we realized we were leaving our area but not our Zone and we didn't tell our District Leader or Zone Leaders we were leaving our area... We got to the airport and Brother Swegle (Our WML) asked us to help him get his bags checked then help him to security. When we walked in and walked to the front desk. Suddenly, we hear in a deep voice "Elders! What are you doing here??" To our surprise.... It was President Killpack, our Mission President and his wife. With showing as little nervousness in my voice as I could, I explained Roger was heading home and we wanted to see him off. President and Sister Killpack came to Rogers Baptism so they knew who he was. Roger went in to hug President and I almost stopped him but I didn't think I could. You see... President doesn't hug anybody... and so I didn't want Roger to get rejected like most of the missionaries in the mission have been. But President stretched out his arms and gave him a hug, WITH BOTH ARMS!!! As did Sister Killpack!! As soon as that happened, I knew we were off the hook with any trouble we could have been in. But it taught me a very valuable lesson, it's better to ask for permission than it is for forgiveness! Anyways, we helped Roger gets his bags checked then we walked him to security. We hugged it out for probably 2 minutes before we left. There were no tears shed but I am definitely going to miss him! When he goes through the Temple, if he comes back down here then that means that Elder Hickenlooper and I could go through with him! That would be such an awesome experience!
We had a member drop us on Thursday. That has never happened to me. He is a less-active that was baptized only 11 months ago. We have been going over to visit him on and off for the past 2 months. His name is Senator H (it makes me think of Star Wars for some reason...). So we walk in on Thursday and he invites us in. Once we sit down, he says, "I am going to be completely honest with you guys. I have never felt a spiritual sensation about your church and I don't believe in Mormonism. I don't believe in Christ and I don't know if I even believe in God." We talked to him about Faith to which he responded, "You can't have faith in something that you cant see." (Which is TOTALLY False! There are at least 3 places in the Book Of Mormon that say that Faith is to hope for things which are not seen, which are true). After only 5 minutes, he said he had to get going but he still wanted us to be friends. Maybe that is all he needs right now is a friend, not a religion.
But on a happier note, that family (Ben, Amanda and their 3 little girls) came to church yesterday! When we talked to the girls about how they liked it afterwards, they said they loved it and wanted to come back again! They made a lot of new friends and had so much fun! Ben is a less-active already and he said that it was good to come back to what he grew up doing. Amanda is our investigator and she looked relieved after church. When I asked why she responded with this, "Ben and I were talking about Baptism. He told me that we had to be abstinent for a year before I could get baptized. But in Relief Society, we were talking about the Temple and Temple Marriages. When I asked if non-members could get married there, they said no but that everyone had the opportunity to get Baptized if that is what they desired." She said she did but didn't know if she could be abstinent for a year. They explained that they could have a civil marriage at the church, get baptized, and in a year they could get sealed in the Temple. She was so happy that she ran out and told Ben that he was wrong and she could get baptized! We also explained that if Ben stopped smoking as well, that he could be the one to baptize her. She loved that! I am so excited to see this family come into the church. It was truly a miracle that the Lord put them into our path. I have such a strong testimony that this is the Lord's work and He has asked me to be His representative and help people come unto Him.
I have been struggling a little this week with a simple-ish question. In the 4th Article of Faith, it states "We believe the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are, first, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; Second, repentance; Third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; And fourth, the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost." I believe that all of that is true. My question was when we repent, isn't that receiving a remission of our sins? So why does it say that we have to be baptized to receive a remission of our sins? I prayed about it last night and I got an answer pretty much right after I asked it. The answer I got was that yes, repentance is receiving a remission of our sins, but only of those that we have repented of. You can only repent of sins that you remember. Obviously we have sins that we don't remember so we can't really "repent" of those. That is where baptism and the sacrament come into play. When we are baptized, if he have the right intentions in our heart (and Heavenly Father knows if we do or not) then baptism/the sacrament is our way of saying we are sorry for the sins that we forgot about and that we will try our hardest to do better from now on. So that remission of sins referred to with "baptism" are those things that we cant specifically remember but we know that we have sinned so we are forgiven, on conditions of our hearts sincere desires.
I can't believe that in 8 days, I will have been out for 5 months! At the end of this transfer, I will be out just about 6 months! That is 1/4 of the way done with my mission! On December 12 is when I turn 6 months old. That means I will only have 13 days after that till I get to Skype or call you guys! And only 17 days till I turn 21!! I am thinking I want to get an Arizona License on my birthday so that It will be sideways instead of up and down. And how cool would it be to have a license with me holding up my missionary name-tag!? Tell me what you think about that and I will make a decision later. :)
I love you all so much! Thank you for the emails! I hope all goes well at home and everyone is safe. I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!!!!

Much love from the greatest Son, Brother, and Friend you could ask for,

~Elder Harris