Monday, February 24, 2014

February 24, 2014

Hello Family!! There is so much to talk about and yet I can't think of what to say!

This week went by super fast, again! It seems like things are speeding up instead of slowing down. I DON'T LIKE IT! I don't feel like I'm doing as much good as I can or that I'm anywhere close to the missionary I want to be. But I'm working on it! We found 8 new potential investigators this week! We tracted for easily 2 hours every day this week. It gets old after a little while so you have to come up with things to help you keep up good spirits. Something that I love to do is come up with a random word that you have to use in your conversation at the door. For example, if your word is "dandilion" you would have to say something like, "I love that there isn't a single dandilion in Arizona!" or something weird like that. You get some interesting words you have to use! But of course we keep it appropriate and spiritual still. I also learned from a less-active member that if you just stand at the door and say something like "Hello, we are missionaries for our church. Are you religious?" That doesn't work. But when you are like, "Hey! I'm Elder Harris. What's your name?" And go into it with enthusiasm and confidence then more people are willing to listen to what you have to say!

Gavin: I BENCHED 185 THIS WEEK!!!! Remember how in my last area I told you that I was going to out lift you? I don't know if I have or not but I remember you telling me that that was your max at that time. Well I hit 185 and am getting stronger every day! You won't be able to beat me up when I get home cause I will still be bigger than you. Yes, that is a challenge. ;)

At dinner on Wednesday, we talked about the Temple. Brother and Sister Zufelt work at the Mesa Temple Friday and Saturday. I learned a lot from talking with them.
1) When we go through the Temple for others, we do NOT renew our Temple convenants as well. We only make them for the other people.
2) Our new names will allow us to use our Seer Stones in the next life.
3) The Catholic church every 25 years breaks down a wall and they all step through it to the other side. It represents the veil like we have in our Temple. However, they don't know what the meaning is behind it. They only do it cause it's tradition.

I also read a talk earlier today by Marion D. Hanks. It is talking about prayer! He says this, "Twice in recent years accounts have appeared in news papers of communities suffering from insufficient water supplies and pressure, who have undertaken costly studies and planned extensive improvements only to discover by chance that the main valve of the water system in the towns was only partially open. They had been surviving on a thin steam and weak force when they could at any time enjoyed vastly enhanced power simply by turning on a valve. Prayer is like that." How often do we go through our days without praying and bring that "living water" into our lives. Those days, we are only surviving with minimal influence from the Spirit, when all it takes to access it more is "open the valve" and get on our knees!

We tracted into this guy. His name is Bernie. He invited us in as soon as he opened up his door! We walked in and I saw a few bulldog statues around. So I mentioned them and he said, "Oh, you haven't seen anything yet." He then proceeded to give us a tour of his house. I tried counting all of the statues and pictures and figurines but got lost at 135 ish. There were easily over 300 of these things all around his house! Anyways, we sat down and got talking. It turns out that Bernie is an Engineer and is atheist. He had a lot of really tough questions that we answered pretty well. Then he directed them at Elder Alder. His last question was "You know that telling someone that a boy saw God and Christ and that he translated gold plates with two stones is pretty hard to believe. So why should I believe it?" Elder Alder replied, "I know it's hard to believe. But I know that it is true and it has brought me joy in this life and I know that I will be happy in the next life cause I know I will live with my God forever." and that was that. No more questions or debates. Bernie changed the subject pretty quickly and started talking about how he writes music. His newest song is called, "You Burned Out the Toaster in the Kitchen of My Heart". We left before he had a chance to show us it. But We  will be going back with a member and maybe he will play it for us then! I definitely run into some strange people out here.

We received 9 referrals this week! That is more than we have received all of our previous weeks combined! That could explain why we have 8 new pretty solid potentials too. :p But it was great because all of them came from a less-active member who is starting to come back to church. He has a hard time coming because he has no feeling in his feet so he can't walk very well and he has a bladder problem so when he has to go then he can't hold it in and it just comes out. But he has come the past 2 weeks and wants to keep coming back! I am super excited to see him making his way back into the fold. The ward is supporting him a lot too. People are fellowshipping him and acknowledging him more than ever!

We did 6 hours of service this last Saturday. We helped one guy move out of his home. He had a LOT of stuff but only him and us 4 missionaries were there to help out. I guess everyone else forgot! After we finished there, we went over to a less-active member’s home and helped them build part of their brick wall. Well first we got there and there were 3 pallets of these blocks that needed to be moved to the back. So we moved all 3 of them in under an hour. We counted and decided that they were about 30 lbs each. That means there was (4x7x8=224x30=6720) 6720 lbs of blocks that we moved! That is about 3.5 TONS of brick moved. It was a lot of work. But that is why I can now bench 185. ;) I also dug a trench that was 3 feet deep and 8 feet long and 2 feet wide for a drainage pipe that they were putting in. It was very satisfying to see all the work that we accomplished that day!

Well things are getting a little better with Elder Alder. We are both trying to do better at listening and admitting when we're wrong, (I have a really hard time with this as you all know...). But we are working on it and things are getting better! I don't know what is going to happen with transfers this upcoming week. OH by the way, transfer calls are this Sunday so that means that I won't be emailing till Tuesday. I just thought I'd give you a heads up on that!

I had a feeling that Brother Whitehead would be in the Stake Presidency. He is very loved by everyone and a great example to me! I don't know if I know the other 2 guys though, do I? I guess I'll find out in 15.5 months!

I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!!! Thank you for the emails and for your prayers. I love you :)

~Elder Kyle Harris

Monday, February 17, 2014

February 17, 2014

Hello family!! Boy I have really missed you all so much.... Not going to lie, this week was a really tough one for Elder Alder and I. We accomplished a lot and we found 3 new investigators! Plus we got our very first lesson to an investigator with a Member Present! But we have just been arguing a lot about dumb little things that I have no preference over until he makes a big deal out of it. I honestly hate teaching lessons with him because after every lesson, he tells me things that I did wrong and what I need to do to be better. I know that he is just trying to help but he doen't even say anything about what happened good or if the Spirit was felt. I guess that this week I kinda just felt like a bad missionary and thats why we argued a lot... Elder Alder also has depression. Pretty bad actually. He takes pills daily to help out. But this last friday during our Comp Inventory, he told me that I needed to get my ADHD in check because ADHD causes depression to double or something along those lines. I didn't know what to say or do. I just sat there with this dumb look on my face as he explained that depression causes him to have to have alone time and with my AHDH, I talk too much or have to have music to often when we are just sitting in silence during lunch and times like that. He gave me the phone and said that there was nothing that he could do to help my ADHD but President might have some ideas. Then he walked into our bedroom, closed and locked the door, and left me there to call President. So I did. I explained that my ADHD is causing Elder Alder and I to not function like good companions. I can't just sit in silence when Im not doing anything else. Even during studies, I have to get up and walk around or do something else cause I can't focus on just one thing for that long. The only time I can stay in focus is in lessons and yet we still get onto random tangents that dont really have anything to do with the lesson. I told President that I didn't know where to go or what to do next and explained that I didn't want to have to take pills if I didn't have to but that if it helped the work more then I would do anything. He assured me that unless I wanted to take pills, that I wouldn't have to. He also explained that this would just have to be something that I work through and that Elder Alder works through. I understand that he needs his silence sometimes. But I don't! So I've gotten into the habit that when he separates himself, I just put in some headphones and listen to Mercy Me or some music like that. I found out that Switchfoot is allowed to listen to out here and so I have been asking around if anyone has any but no luck thus far. I don't know if putting in headphones is a bad habit though because we aren't supposed to be "seperate" or studying in seperate rooms. So I have been thinking alot and I don't want to have to take pills. But maybe it would help.... What do you guys think...?
I said earlier that we got 3 new investigators. Dianna, Adiv, and Keith.
Dianna is the wife of Pier. She is super nice and everything she does is focussed on her family and helping out her 4 kids. She has the CUTEST kids ever! They have a 13 month old that goes in and out of the hospital though. He is basically deaf and so they will have to get hearing aids for him at just over a year old. However, the insurance may or may not cover it and they don't have the money for it. So we are really praying very hard for them and the ward is really getting involved! We talked with her and explained that the Relief Society in our ward is focussed on the welfare and care of those in the ward bondaries, not just members. And they have heard about what she is going through so they are more than willing to baby sit for free and provide dinners on those days that she just needs to get away and have some alone time with her husband. I am super excited for how much the ward is taking her in. I just hope that she feels the love and recognizes the Spirit as well that is present.
Keith is one of our potential investigators that I have told you about before. He is SUPER intelligent and knows about a lot of religions. He don't really know what he believes exactlt but he does believe in God. We were on exchanges when he was taught and I was out of the area with Elder Stock on the East side of our ward. Elder Alder and Elder Romero taught him the Plan of Salvation and he loved it! We will be going back there on Wednesday to follow up with him and invite him to church.
Adiv is from Nicaragua (I think I spelled that right. It is just below Mexico I believe...). He is what is known as Buhhai (Buh-hi). Basically the Buhhai believes that they have a "prophet" named Buhhal. He has written over 100 volumes of "revelation" for the church. And what they believe is that every church is right. They accept every religions beliefs and take it in as their own. They are, in fact, asked to read all of the books from the other religions to get to know them better. So he took the Book of Mormon in a heart beat and listened to the Restoration with a lot of intent. However, I don't know where to go with him. Even if he gains a testimony that it is true, it will still fall under his religion because they accept every religion and their books as truth. Which means that he would accept Joseph Smith as a prophet of God. So he is going to be difficult to work with and we are going to have to be careful with what we say and how we say it.
Those are our investigators! All of them are super interested in what we have to say and they have a lot of potential! It will take some time but it will be good to finally have people to work with!
Transfers are in 2 weeks already! Can you believe that it has been 8 months!?!?! Time has just flown by for me! Well this transfer and last transfer went by a little slower but I have friends that are going home and that is weird to see. Random fact, David Archuleta goes home from Chile in 2 weeks!
I am working on writing letters to everyone in the family individually. I am trying to space out the time for my writing them though because I want them to be personal and I don't want to repeat things that I have said to others in their letters. Hopefully I will get that in the mailbox this week, if not, IM SORRY!!
Mom, I am SOOO proud of you for doing so much family history! I will get on and check out how much has been done so that I can try to add on as well. :)
I love you all so much! Thank you for your prayers and your support. I know that our prayers are heard by our loving Heavenly Father. Don't stop though! I still need them. :) I LOVE YOU!!!!!
~Elder Kyle William Harris

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

February 10, 2014


I miss you all SOOOOOO MUCH!!!! Brother and Sister Lewis called one of the office workers because the number they were given didn't work. However, the person they were staying with knew one of the office workers really well so he just called them then handed the phone to me cause I just so happened to be standing right there next to him. We were in the office for about 2 hours this morning helping out the people in the office with filing papers and gas receipts. So it was just perfect timing when they called. It was SUPER weird to see a face from home.... But it was great too :) I could not believe how much you guys fit into that bag! The thing that got me the most though was the pictures. I showed everyone in the office all of the pictures at least 3 times over! I love it all! Thank you so much! (yes i do have a hard time with eating junk food. weird huh? too bad im not like that with money!!)

I wish that you could send me some of Connors music! Tell them to do a song about Christ then send it to me :) I’m sure that it is BOMB!!! To answer some of the questions that has been asked I am 6 foot 1 inch (almost) and weigh 180 on the dot. I haven't gained very much fat but I have definitely gained a lot of muscle!! You know how in the Old Spice commercials how the big black guy can make his chest dance? I can do that now :) It isn't as good but my muscles actually move when I flex them! Just thought that I would brag. ;) It took me a long time to get it this way. Lots of push-ups, curls, benching, and pull-ups. In order for the muscles to get bigger, you have to work them out and over time, they grow! I realized that this is a lot alike with people’s testimonies! I used to think that all it took to get a good testimony was just say that I knew it was true and magically it would come. Bologna!! If it was that easy then everyone and their dog would be converted! It is a lot harder than that. You have to work it out. Pray morning, night, and every minute in between. Read your scriptures daily. Humble yourself and repent frequently (daily preferably cause we all sin every day.) If we do these things THEN our testimony will grow. THEN we can say with our whole heart that we KNOW the church is true.

This week was a really difficult one for me. I know that numbers on a mission don't matter. Elder Alder and I worked our tails off tracting and visiting less-active members and even active members! But In all 7 days, we only taught 7 lessons and not a single one was to an investigator... We also don't have any dates, get any new investigators, and none of our investigators came to church. I didn't understand how we could be doing so much work and not have anything to show it. I honestly got down on myself pretty bad... Up till this point a mission has been pretty simple except for a few things with companions but that is expected. The work was easy! But this week wasn't so. And I didn't understand at all. I felt like a failure in my area and as a companion because Elder Alder and I were getting into more dumb arguments and we were getting further and further away from each other. I sat down and tried to figure out what the heck was going on and why I could feel so down if I was doing so much good. Then I realized that it was the Spirit. I know that in the lessons we had the Spirit because I could feel it. But I couldn't feel it anymore. I studied that topic for a while! I did everything I could to get to know more about the Spirit and I read in PMG that someone asked President Hinckley "How does one come to recognize the Spirit more in their lives. And he responded with "Now that is the life long test." This isn't just something that comes over night. It is just like a muscle! (See, there was a point to my bragging!) I have to keep working on listening to it before I will be able to go into a lesson and have the Spirit teach the WHOLE thing! So That is what I will be working on from now on.

Things are getting better with Elder Alder. We aren't getting into as many argument and we are teaching more as a companionship than just single people going back and forth on topics in a lesson.

I had a really cool experience on Saturday! We attended a baptism for a girl named Jessica. My MTC companion Elder Price got to baptize her!! We were also doing what we call a mini missionary day, which means that everyone in the mission prep class is assigned to be with a set of missionaries for the entire day! We only had ours till 12 cause he had work. But the cool thing was that everyone in the West Zone had a mini-missionary and we were all there for the Baptism. So there were 15 sets of missionaries, 13 mini-missionaries and a few members. Then Jessica had all of her family there too. NONE of them were members so the room was packed full of missionaries and non-members. After she was dunked and while she was changing, the ZL's stood up and talked about the restoration. I have heard the Restoration many many times and taught it even more times. But (and I swear this is true) while they were talking and bearing testimony, I saw them literally glowing. Both of them had a glow that just radiated from them and the Spirit was SOO strong! I told them afterwards and thanked them for the experience. I know the kind of missionary that I want to be and it is just like them.

I love my mission. And my testimony is stronger than it has ever been before. I just want to thank you all for your prayers and for the memories that I have to go back to when things get hard here. I love you all so much! Never forget that!!


~Elder Kyle Harris

p.s. sorry if this one seems short... We ran out of time because dinner rescheduled to sooner... I will do better next week! LOVE YOU!!!

Monday, February 3, 2014

February 3, 2014

Hello Everyone!!!

CONGRATULATIONS SYD AND DAVE!!!!!!! I am SOOOO happy for you two right now! Calvin is truly blessed to have you two as his parents! Oh my goodness he is so cute!!! I wish that I could be there to hold him! But I don't feel extremely well either so maybe its better that I don't hold him ;) I have been super-duper tired this week but I don't really know why. We have been getting to bed around 10 every night and getting up at 6:30. Well most mornings.... We slept through our alarms twice this week... So we now have 4 alarms that go off in our room all between the times of 6 and 6:45. We won't do it anymore! ;) I haven't been able to sleep very deep though... Any suggestions? I wake up a lot in the middle of the night. I have cut down from sleeping with 2 pillows under my head to only 1 but I still sleep with a pillow in-between my legs. I also sleep on my side so my back has been hurting pretty bad. :P That is about all the complaining that I have I think!

This week was a pretty normal week for us! Ben is one of the investigators we found last week. He is an older gentleman who was super interested in the Gilbert Temple. We went back to his place this week and met his wife at the doorstep. She told us that they were pretty busy with remodeling their house and their yard. We asked if we could help. She seemed really taken back when we asked but said no. She said that she didn't want to become Mormon and that we could have a good day. Before she closed the door, I said something. I don't really remember what but I said something that made her keep the door open. We asked if she went to church I think and if she read the Bible. She said yes and we said "Us too!" She looked at us and said "No you don't. You guys have that other book. Don't you?" We explained that we believe in the Bible to be the word of God, and that the Book of Mormon was just another testament of Jesus Christ. We explained that when Christ was resurrected and he told his disciples "...Other Sheep I have which are not of this fold." He was talking about the people that were here in America! The Book of Mormon is their story about how they got here, what they believed, and how they came to know Jesus Christ. After talking for about 20 minutes she said that she had to get going to pick up her kids from the bus stop. We were starting to say goodbye and she said, "Do you have an extra copy of that Book? I wanna read it." We did OF COURSE and handed it to her. She seemed super excited :) We called them this week and they said they wouldn't be able to make it up to the Temple Open House but that if we called back on Wednesday that we could set up an appointment to meet with them again! SO COOL!!!

We went over to see Mrs. Brown as well. We had that appointment set up for Tuesday but when we showed up her husband answered and said that she had to take off for a little while. We started talking with him and he introduced himself as Pastor Brown. Turns out that the Browns are Lutheran and he is the Pastor for the church! I have never really met a Pastor before but he was super nice! He gave us his number and told us to call this week and set up a time to come over and meet with them! We will probably call tomorrow to set up a time with them.

Ben Melendez is another investigator! He is 43 and super tight! He gave us 2 really nice trick bikes to give to some kids in the ward that needed them. We brought it up in ward council yesterday and they said they would keep an open ear but they didn't know of anybody who needed a bike yet. Bishop said that he would talk to the surrounding wards and see if any of them needed a bike. We were super close to dropping Ben however because he isn't really interested in changing as much as he is in us as missionaries. I guess that is a start! When Elder Jones was here, we went out to dinner with him and talked about the Restoration. He loved it! I was hoping we would go again but we lost contact with him all last week. He wouldn't answer our calls or our texts. On Saturday he texted us back and told us that he was at a camp and forgot to tell us. Turns out that he goes and volunteers at some camp for the Catholic Church where grown men go and come closer to Christ. They give up all technology and sing songs and learn from the scriptures and come back the next week. It sounds a lot like a spiritual Clear Creek! He loves it out there! He said that he hadn't felt so close to Christ ever. Then to top it off he said that one of his employees for the car wash he manages was on tv the other day. He is blind. Ben hires people to give them second chances like guys who came out of prison or that are getting off of drugs. And it has been 100% successful. Anyway he hired this blind guy cause of the feeling that he had. It has been a year since he was hired and the news put him on for some reason. Anyways, all of the CEO's of this car wash were like "This is great publicity for us! Great job Ben." And he was like, "I'm sorry but I don't care about publicity or really about getting this company spread across the U.S. I care about that guy that needed a job and no one else would hire him. I care about those guys who need a second chance when everyone else turned them away." And that really is the kind of guy Ben is. One of his employees said that he looked different than everyone else but couldn't figure out why. Later on in the day, Ben received a note from that guy saying that the reason Ben looked different is because of the angel wings he had on his back. And in a spiritual way, I can see them too. Ben has changed his life and is now helping others change. That is what I am out here to do too. We met with him yesterday and he said that he wanted to take us out again! We are going out to eat again on Thursday :) I don't know what to teach him though... I guess that I will let the Spirit guide! :)

We invited Pier to church this week but he couldn't make it because he didn't have a ride. He is married and has 4 kids. We sent a list around church and asked who could give rides. The most someone could was 4... So we went over to talk to him about it and try to figure something out. We were told that Pier works till really late each night. 9 or 9:30 is the earliest usually. They don't have a car though so he rides the bus to the center of Tucson and then rides the bus back. But just recently, the bus system decided that they wouldn't run busses after 6... So he has been asking for rides from guys at work and sometimes he had to beg for rides off the street. He had to walk home one night and it was like a 4 hour walk. He doesn't have a cell phone and so his wife was starting to freak out just before he walked in the door. They decided that it wasn't going to work anymore. So they bought a car! It is a Ford Expedition that has enough seats for everyone in his family! What a miracle! :) So we are going to get back in touch with them later this week and invite them again. I hope they can make it!

Elder Alder and I are getting along great! A LOT better than Elder Jones and I. We walked a lot thought because Elder Alder doesn't have a bike. He has the money for it but hasn't had to buy one thus far on his mission. So we walked! Also Elder McNary (another missionary in our zone) said he needed a bike for a little while cause his back rim is shot... So I let him borrow mine. I gave him my lock and my key and as well so hopefully all will go okay with that. :P I’m sure it will thought! He promised that he would take really good care of it. :)

I don't think they have finalized a location for the temple but I heard that they were thinking Skyline and Ina. Don't quote me on that though. And lets not think about setting up a time to come back yet cause I don't want to leave yet! Things seem to be getting better here and the member trust is growing exponentially! We have only been here for about 2 months and we have had 3 families say that they don't want us to leave because everything is better than it was before! I am so happy they see that we are trying and that the Lord is blessing us with success!!

I wish that I had more to say but this week was just a pretty average week! Today looks like it is going to rain. I hope it does!! I love you all so much!!! Thank you for your prayers and for everything you do for me! Mom, I am running out of that special toothpaste stuff so if you could get me some that would be great! If not then I have other toothpaste I can use instead :) I LOVE YOU!!!!! Have a great week!!

~Elder Kyle Harris