HELLO FAMILY AND FRIENDS!!!
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