Wednesday, July 30, 2014

July 28, 2014

Hello Family!!! Man, I know that I say this every time but this week flew by!!! And with the wind we've been having, I literally mean flew by. ;) I will tell you more in a sec. First and foremost....

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I love you so much! You have always been an inspiration to me and someone that I can look up to. You have always helped me to know where to go and what to do to build up my relationship with my Father in Heaven. I was reading in 2nd Nephi 25:26 which says: And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, 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." You truly understood this scripture. When we go to church and read our scriptures and pray with the family, it isn't for you. It is for your children. It is so that you show them through your actions how they can come to have a greater connection with our Lord and Savior. And you have fulfilled it with such amazingness! Thank you for that. :) I LOVE YOU!!!!

This week I have been reading a lot of out "The Infinite Atonement". I don't even know where to begin about that book. It is absolutely AMAZING!!!! I have learned so much about the importance of the Atonement and how it works and why it works. Well only kind of on how. I have realized that there isn't really very much that we know as to "how" it works. How did Jesus Christ take upon him all the sins of the world, and individually for that matter, in such a short time? How did he know whether we were going to make certain mistakes or have certain pains? How is it that he is able to make it so that no matter what things I do wrong in this life, I can be forgiven for them? There is just so much that we don't know but that is where faith comes in. Without faith in the power of the Atonement, everything else in this life is pointless. There is nothing that we can do to make it to Heaven again. But only through the gifts of repentance, grace and mercy will we be able to inherit all that our Father has.

We went on exchanges this week. I had Elder George, my District Leader, come with me. and we had a PACKED day! The night that we switched, Elder George and I got on top of our trailer and looked at the stars. Well, tried to. There were so many clouds and the neighbors had their porch light on and that was super annoying cause it's super bright but it was still awesome! We told secrets and stories and dreams and just talked for about 2 hours up there. Elder George didn't want to sleep on Elder Gilson’s bed because Elder Gilson doesn't really take care of it very well and it was gross and had dirty clothes all over it. So he slept out on the couch. I pulled my mattress into the front room as well and had a sleep over! We were up till 2 a.m. talking and laughing! I realized though why me and him get along so well and connect so well, he is exactly like Alexander Jones! I mean it is scary how much he is like him. They like the same kind of games, have the same personality, and even talk the same! Both are super intelligent and love helping everyone around them in any way that they can. So needless to say, we got along like brothers!

I always used to think that I would be so much better and farther in life if I hadn't made the mistakes that I did and just stayed on the path the whole time. But I have come to realize that I wouldn't take my mistakes back. Of course I regret doing those things and I know I would be home from my mission already if I had stuck close to my testimony but at the same time, I wouldn't have met the same people or had the same friends. I don't even know if I would have come to the Tucson Arizona mission! I have learned so much from my past and that has allowed me to reach out to people that are in the same kind of situation that I was in. I have connected with people that no one else has been able to. And best of all, I have learned to love and appreciate the Atonement more because of the opportunities that I have had to use it. I love my Savior and I know that I am here cause I was supposed to be here today, not 2 years ago.

There was a crazy storm on Saturday! We could tell that it was going to rain cause of the clouds that were coming in and the wind was starting to pick up. We were eating with Richard Christenson, Grandpa Harris' cousin. It was so great! He told me that he has a book (that unfortunately he had just lent out to his daughter for the week) that had a bunch of pictures of the Harris Clan. He also told me that most likely, there was a picture of me in there. I am going to go back and see the book when he gets it back but it is just so cool how the Lord put me into a place where I never thought I'd meet anyone I knew. Anyway, the wind was picking up as we were over there eating and it was starting to rain. It was no big deal till it started tipping over their trashcans and pulling some of the roofing off of their neighbors house. We had just sat down to give a message. We put our Mormon Messages DVD in to start off the message and suddenly, the power went off! The rain was pounding the house. The lightning lit up the room super bright and the thunder shook the house. It was intense! We knew the roads were going to be flooding soon so we gave a quick message and drove home. On our way home, we saw trees tipped over, houses with parts of their roofs blown off and even a trampoline that had blown over someone’s fence and landed right next to the road! We stopped to get a picture of that one. :P Luckily there was no damage done to our trailer. The power didn't even go off at our place. But Sister Despain, my grandma out here, had part of her car port roof torn up. And one of the families we are teaching who lives 3 houses down had a tree blow over. No one was hurt luckily but it was still pretty scary. The winds were an estimated 60 mph or so. It was intense! And this is actually a blessing in disguise. One reason is because it brought about an inch of rain to our dry home. Second is we have been looking for fellow shippers for the Hoopes family, they are the ones that had their tree blown over. Well, on Sunday, we got about 3 or 4 guys to commit to coming over to cut it up with their chain saws on Tuesday evening and get to know the Hoopes. Miracle!

There was another storm last night and the wind was pretty intense then too. It wasn't nearly as bad but it was great to get more rain. We really need it down here. Keep praying for it if you will! The Lord is blessing the land. :)

Elder Gilson and I are still getting along great! He is trying to get better at staying clean and organized and I'm trying to get better at not judging him for that. Elder Gilson got in a car accident that totaled the mission vehicle and so he is red dotted for the rest of his mission. This means that he can't drive anymore. That also means that I get to drive everywhere, all the time. I have always loved driving. I love the feeling of rolling down me windows and having some music playing. Well, I have kind of lost that drive to drive. Haha! It is fun to drive everywhere but also kind of a pain when it's too hot to have the windows down and when Elder Gilson doesn't like the windows down. :P But It's all good. We are working hard and getting a lot done. I love it!

Well, that pretty much sums up my week. Thank you for your emails and for your prayers. I love you all so much!

~Elder Kyle Harris

Monday, July 21, 2014

July 21, 2014

Hello Familia!!!! (that is Spanish for those that don't know...just kidding. Everyone knows that... I hope...) I don't even know where to start off with this week. I don't think that I have had a fast week thus far on my mission. Back at the MTC, days felt like weeks and weeks felt like a day. I haven't really had that feeling until this week. I don't know what was different but whatever it was, I'm glad it was quicker instead of slower!

We taught 29 lessons this week! That is a new record for me! We taught 5 lessons to investigators with a member present, 7 lessons to investigators without a member present, 5 Less-Active and Recent Convert lessons, and 12 Active member lessons. We received 8 referrals for the week and got 3 new investigators! I have had successful weeks but this week, our numbers decided to show it! Sometimes, like with Elder Wardell, we would work our tails off but our numbers at the end of the week wouldn't show it at all. We have been really blessed these past 2 weeks and I know that it is only going to continue on from here!

This week, we've been sharing Mormon 9:19-20 which reads,

19 And if there were miracles‍ wrought then, why has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being? And behold, I say unto you he changeth not; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles.
20 And the reason why he ceaseth to do miracles‍ among the children of men is because that they dwindle in unbelief, and depart from the right way, and know not the God in whom they should trust.
We then continued on with something to the point of, God still performs miracles today but people don't believe it. Why is that? And the reason is they don't know what to look for or aren't looking for them at all. Most people are looking for a life changing event when they think of a miracle. But that isn't true at all now is it? Miracles happen every day of our lives. We just are so busy going through our days that we aren't looking for them when they happen. Then we say that we are going to go around the room and share a miracle that we saw that day. Most people unfortunately can't think of one. Sometimes though there are some great miracles that are big and couldn't be missed. But rarely is there a miracle that was small but they noticed it because they were spiritually sensitive to it. We then invite/challenge them to look for a miracle every day and to express your gratitude to our Heavenly Father when you pray. Or even pray right then and thank Him for it! So I'm going to try to do the same thing and look for a miracle every day this week and share that with you.
Tuesday we were out in Fort Thomas driving around and saw this guy with his shirt off working in his front yard. The house he was in front of looked like it needed a lot of work to restore it and so did the yard. We pulled up and asked if we could help him out. Turns out he is a member from Snowflake and this was his mom's place but she passed away a few years back and they just had let it get trashed for a little while. His wife came over and started talking with us and she is the Relief Society President for the ward. But they told us they were very impressed that we were willing to give service so easily and quickly. Member Trust!! Elder Gilson loves to say prayers and share spiritual thoughts with everyone that we come in contact with. It is kinda embarrassing sometimes but it's a good habit to get into I guess. So we shared a thought and said a prayer then walked across the street to meet a lady sitting on her porch. Her name is Betty Lutz. She is a less-active member but completely believes the church is true. The thing holding her back is her husband, who is not a member of the church. But she told us that we could come back this week and talk with her and her husband and see where he is at with his religious beliefs. We wouldn't have met her without talking to those other members. Miracle!

Wednesday We were going around looking for part-member families. We were told a couple of families we could visit but that most of them would turn us away. We met 3 families and everyone of them let us come inside and just talk with them! One of the families is the Ashenbremers. Both of the parents have ADHD pretty bad and they have 2 kids. The oldest is 11 and he has autism. The other is 7 but he has something wrong where he has the intelligence/common sense as a 5 year old. The father is a member but no one else is. The thing is, the wife completely believes the church is true but she can't stop smoking so she can't get baptized. Anyways, we were inside talking with the dad, Craig, when we heard a big crash and his wife yell, "SOMEONE CALL 9-1-1!!!" We all leaped up and took off outside to see a semi that had been t-boned but a Ford F150. There was little damage done to the semi and not very much done to the truck that hit into him either. Both people were fine though so that's good. We went from there to go visit the Clarks, who had told their home teachers not to come back. When we stopped by, the wife came out and started talking to us and I don't remember why but she started crying about something. Then her husband came out and invited us to sit in the shade with him and we all had a great conversation just about life! They also invited us back anytime! Miracle! Also on Wednesday, we had our interviews with President Passey. Elder Gilson went in first and I went in second. President sat me down and we said a prayer then he said, "Elder Harris, Elder Gilson told me something that you need to hear. He said that these last 6 days have been the greatest of his entire mission and it's all because of you and the work you two are doing." This completely caught me off guard but I told him that I was just supporting him and letting him take the lead. He told me that what I was doing was perfect. He then said that he would need me in leadership positions at some point but that I would most likely be staying with Elder Gilson for another one. I think I'm okay with that. Things are going pretty great. :)

Thursday we went out to Bylas. We went to go see Keith Pike, the deaf person we contacted last week. As we pulled up, there was a lady standing outside who we later found out was his sister. She used to live in Safford and used to take the lessons from the missionaries but then she moved out here and fell off the map. She told us though that she wanted us to come back sometime! We are going to head out there tomorrow! MIRACLE!!!

Friday we performed in the Talent Show as the final number. This was really cool! So basically the 24th of July is like 10 times bigger than the 4th of July. And so this year they had a talent show on Friday. There were singers and dancers and lots of instrumental talents and it was great! But this is where it gets sweet... There was a guy named Todd Welker that sang. He won 2nd in a nationals competition for singing so he's really good. BUT HE IS FROM LEHI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He lives right off of the exit near the American Stone place near Syd's school. Miracle, I think so. :) I talked with him afterwards and he said he's lived there for about 15 years or so. He was super nice but he had to get going. Oh, but for the final number, everyone that had performed that night came out and sang "We, The Builder of the Nation" from the hymnbook. They added 2 verses though. The missionaries were lined up in the back. At the end of the 4th verse, we walked down the isles and stood in the front then the congregation stood and we sang the last verse which went like so,

"Covenant to proclaim the Gospel
Now as millions strong we stand.
Prophets guide our inspiration
Gathering souls from every land.
We've been called, we cannot falter
From the Promise we have made
To Prepare His church and Kingdom
For the King of Kings to reign."

It was super powerful and great lots of fun!

Saturday was the actual celebration. It was HUGE!!! I will include some pictures I got of the pancake breakfast and then the party at the football field that night. But as we were coming home for dinner, we decided to drive down this random road and knock on a random, big house on the top of a hill. We pulled up and a lady was there. She is a member but the house belonged to her land owner. She watches his dogs as he goes out of town. Well, recently the gentleman who lives there lost his wife and was still mourning about it. She told us to come back this week and tell him about the Plan of Salvation. MIRACLE!

And Sunday we were invited to dinner with the Watson family. Every Sunday, their family gets together and they have dinner together. Unfortunately, just about a month ago, one of the brothers in the family named Carl Watson was diagnosed with Cancer. It started when he went in to see his doctor cause he couldn't swallow. They found a tumor blocking his esophagus. They decided to check a little deeper and found that he had cancer not just there, but throughout his entire body. The tumor was the least of his problems... He asked for a blessing and luckily I always have oil on me because no one else there had oil. That was the miracle for the day. He asked me to anoint then someone else gave the blessing. I wanted so bad for him to pray for healing but I felt like that wasn't the case for Carl. And it was never said to be healed. It was a blessing that the pain wouldn't last and he would be alright, as would his family. It was a really sad moment but the Spirit was definitely there.

Thank you all for your emails and prayers. I love you very much! Remember to say your prayers and read your scriptures!

~ Elder Kyle Harris

Mom: I found a few quotes that talk not directly on Fast Offerings but on Consecration, Service and Welfare. Here are some good ones:

"The Lord’s way to help those in temporal need requires people who out of love have consecrated themselves and what they have to God and to His work." — Henry B. Eyring, "Opportunities to Do Good"
"Devoted men and women help to operate this vast and inspired welfare program. In reality, the plan would never succeed on effort alone, for this program operates through faith after the way of the Lord." — Thomas S. Monson, "The Way of the Lord"
"He is not only interested in our immediate needs; He is also concerned about our eternal progression. For this reason, the Lord’s way has always included self-reliance and service to our neighbor in addition to caring for the poor." — Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "Providing in the Lord's Way"

"No member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who has canned peas, topped beets, hauled hay, shoveled coal, or helped in any way to serve others ever forgets or regrets the experience of helping provide for those in need." — Thomas S. Monson, "The Way of the Lord"

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

July 14, 2014

Dear Family, HELLO!!!! This week flew by once again. And I'm sure all of you are wondering what I think of my companion, well.... He's pretty cool. :P

This was the first week in a while that I've actually planned what I'm going to do with my day. Elder Gilson is really good at helping me keep the small rules cause then it will be easier to keep the big rules. I think that is where I have been slipping up recently. I was making sure I was following the big rules like getting out by 11 and not swimming and not kissing any girls. But the small things like getting up at 6:30 and staying at appointments for an hour tops and sharing a message with Everyone we visit with, I wasn't doing bad at those things, but I wasn't staying strict either. Elder Gilson however, is strict to them. He is up by 6:00 every morning. He asks every time we are in a home if we can say some prayers and share a message. And he hates spending over an hour at a place, even dinner. I think it was Thursday, we showed up for dinner but it wasn't ready yet. We got there at 5 and started eating around 5:30. Elder Gilson wanted to eat fast, share a message, and get out of there. I talked it out with him and I could see his part entirely, but as I explained the point of view of the members, he realized that when circumstances make you change your normal routine, the Spirit of the Law comes into effect. Now that's not to say that the Spirit of the Law tells us to go against the rules or anything like that, but that it would be better for the members and the Spirit would be there stronger if we didn't try and rush things and gave them a lesson that they needed. And the Spirit was definitely strong for that lesson. I'll explain in a little bit. :)

The best part about Elder Gilson is it's like he is only 6 weeks old instead of 6 months old. And I don't mean that in a bad way. Sure he is kinda awkward and tries too hard sometimes but at the same time, he actually tries! When you first come out into the field, most missionaries have what we call "Greenie Fire". This is that super strong desire that new missionaries seem to have where they are ready to just baptize the world! Unfortunately, most missionaries seem to lose that fire and drive and get into a normal routine. They still get work done and are still successful, but it's like a job interview. Sure they have a chance to get the job working for the Lord, but if you have more drive and enthusiasm and love for the work, you are going to be more successful and get the job everyone else wants. The job can be either more investigators, more less-actives coming back to church, or even more baptisms. The stronger the drive, desire, and love you have, the more reactivations, baptisms and overall joy you will have! And Elder Gilson still has his "Greenie Fire". Elder Gilson has only had apostate companions. In the deaf branch, there is a lot of down time and so they turn to worldly things to keep themselves sane instead of working harder. Elder Gilson didn't fall into that habit and stayed true to his calling and wants to get out and do work. He couldn't in the last area he was in with the missionaries he was with. But now that he is out here in the Gila Valley, there is lots of work to be done and lots of support from the members and other obedient missionaries. So he is on cloud 9 right now! And the best part is, we aren't fighting at all.

Elder Gilson and I are doing great work together. Sure there are things that he does that kinda poke at my temper, but I have learned that there is no reason to get mad. For example, on Sunday, I set my alarm for 6 a.m. He got up at 5:45 and turned on the light and started singing to help himself wake up. I was mad admittedly but I didn't say anything. I kept my mouth closed and just help it in. As we drove to our meetings, I didn't really say much cause I didn't want my anger to get out. After 10 hours of meetings yesterday (now I know what dad felt like being in the bishop-brick!) I realized that he wasn't doing it to be mean. I let it go and we had a great night. I have realized that it is all about the little decisions that will eventually decide the total outcome. The way we react, our mindset about things, and our words will determine what we can become and what happens next. Yes Elder Gilson loves to talk during lessons and kinda takes over the lesson, but it's because he is excited to finally be teaching someone! He has insight that he likes to share and that is fine with me. I am happy that I am with Elder Gilson because I am becoming more of the missionary I want to be and gaining the attributes I see you, mom and dad, have. Now I know what it was like trying to raise me. :P

This week was great though! Giovani is progressing like it's no one's business! We have established daily nourishment with him and his parents. They have family scripture study every night and invited us to go over and read with them. So we occasionally teach him a lesson but in all reality, we ask him about points of doctrine and he tells us what that is. Every so often, we have to explain what something means or how something works in the church but he is a very smart kid and holds in a lot of information. They came to all 3 meetings of church yesterday and had a great time with it! His parents are working on their Word of Wisdom issues so they can go to the Temple. Their names are Vince and Amanda Gibbons. If you would pray for their family, including Giovani, that would be great!

We found out why Elder Gilson was sent out here. Bishop Brown of the Pima 4th Ward has a worker named Keith Pike. Keith is deaf and knows sign language. Guess who else knows sign language.... Our ASL missionary Elder Gilson! So we drove out to Bylas this week and taught Keith about the Book of Mormon. He can't read very well so we are working on getting him some DVD's of a person signing the Book of Mormon so he can go through it. It was really cool to watch everything they did. I picked up some of what they were talking about too! I have learned to pray again in ASL so that's fun! :)

We were driving around on Wednesday and were trying to find something to do. We didn't really have any investigators when Gilson came in so we decided to work with some former investigators in the Fort Thomas ward. We were driving to one place and then both of us forgot who we were planning on going to see. Talk about a stupor of thought! So we looked at the list of former investigators and saw Terry Fisher on the list. We decided we'd try his place. We pulled up and he came out onto his porch. When he saw us, he greeted us with a loud "Elders! Hello!!" and invited us in. He told us that he had stopped taking drugs and was going to call us last week to start coming back to church but he had lost our number and couldn't call. Then we showed up. What a miracle!!! He came to Sunday School but needed to head home afterwards. It was so cool to see the Lord's hand like that in our work!

Ernest Valenzuela is someone else we are working with. He was on a major kind of Probation, I think its called supervised probation, where he had to check in almost daily and couldn't hardly go anywhere or do anything without letting his probation officer know. Well, he is off of that and has about a year left of unsupervised probation which is a lot less strict. He and his girl friend had a baby boy! He was only about 5 lbs 8 ounces though... But he's doing much better and growing strong. He asked a member in the ward to bless his baby at church in a few weeks so they he can be on the records of the church. How cool is that?! :)

This weekend is the 24th of July celebration for the Gila Valley! Imagine that all of Lehi came together at Wines Park and there was singing and dancing and Fireworks and parades and such. Well, that is the celebration down here. There will be between 4000-6000 people there on Friday night and Saturday!! It is the biggest celebration in the Gila Valley and we have basically been told that if we want to do any kind of work, it has to be done at the party cause NO ONE will be home! I'm super excited! I missed the 4th of July with Elder Wardell but get to experience something even better with Elder Gilson. The 3 towns out here, Pima, Thatcher, and Safford, all take turns on who is hosting it each year. This year is Thatcher but next year is Pima. Pima is known to throw the BEST 24th of July celebration and they are doing it next year. So in a year from now, when Im home, we are going to take a trip down here so you can see my old area, meet some great people, and party it up at the park! Ya? Ya. :)

I went on exchanges with Elder Cunningham on Saturday. He is only 5 days old and being trained by our District Leader. He came to my area so we went out to Bylas so he could experience the wild. ;) We had some success with tracting and he loved that! But we were asked by Elder George, his companion and our District Leader, to visit one of his former investigators that he was working with before that moved out to Bylas. So we drove over there and he was SMASHED (super super drunk)... After a few minutes of talking with him, he left and so we were sitting outside talked to his wife and her friend who were also super drunk as well as some other guy who was texting the whole time and didn't participate. After about 15 minutes of talking, the guy we who walked off came back and stood in front of us and said, "A few years ago, some missionaries came to my house at midnight to mess around with my wife. You guys are a lot like those other guys (referring to the missionaries in the past). Get off of my property and never come back." He was mad. Like, drunk mad. So we stood up and left. It was my first time being kicked out like that but it was for the best, the Spirit wasn't there and I didn't have a good feeling about sticking around any longer either.

But to end on a good note, HAPPY BIRTHDAY GAVIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Did you think I forgot? HA! No way! I can't believe that you are 16 now! How does it feel? Do you remember the big sweet 16 party that mom and dad threw for me? Maybe they will do the same for you. Or maybe not because I am their favorite son. ;) Don't crash the truck please and be careful with who you date. Don't spend all your money on another man's future wife. And most importantly, remember, you are going on a mission so don't get too attached to anyone. :) I hope you like the presents I sent you! I know they are kinda lame but it was what I found for a missionaries budget. :) I love you!

Thank you everyone for your emails! It was great to hear from everyone instead of just mom and dad. :) I hope that you are all having a great week and that you make the best of your summer cause you don't have a lot of time left! I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!!!

~Elder Kyle Harris

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

July 8, 2014

Hello Family! Man, I can't believe that transfers are come and gone already. This one went by way too fast for me. Elder Wardell and I got along great and we never fought, not even pretend! Anytime he or I would do something that could make someone mad, it would be over with "It's okay man! I'm not even mad!" What a great example on how to handle people that could be hard to get along with. Which is exactly what I'm going to need with my new companion. By before I tell that, lets talk about my final week with Elder Wardell.

So we got some new neighbors next to us. They have been there for about 2 or 3 weeks and we were told that they were members but we haven't had a chance to get over there to meet them. Bishop Brown from the Pima 4th ward told us that we should stop by and introduce ourselves but we didn't... Well this last Saturday, he came up to us and introduced himself. His name is Brother Gibbons. He is from Thatcher, AZ which is like 5 minutes from us. He and his wife got married a few years back but she finally got baptized last September. One of their sons got baptized then too. But their other son, Giovani, wasn't able to. Giovani lives with his dad in Illinois. He was going to get baptized but they didn't have enough time. Well, he wants to get baptized! So we taught him on Sunday. He is 9 but had finished reading all of the Harry Potter books by the time he was 8. So he loves to read. He and his family read from the Book Of Mormon everyday together so he already believes that it's true. He has been taught all the lessons before so we went over some points and he basically taught us the rest of the Restoration. It was amazing! He has a baptism date for the 2nd of August! WOOT!!!! What a miracle!

Elder Wardell turned 21 this week. Actually, his birthday is on the 4th of July! So instead of going out and watching fireworks, 2 members from our wards, Chad Kelliher and Dakota Lines, took Elder Wardell and I out to Denny's and then we just messed around for a little while. We didn't get to watch any fireworks but it's okay cause we just hung out with Chad and Kota. At our place, we have like 9 goats. All of them but one are female. The only male is HUGE! Well, someone through out the dumb idea to ride him. Psh.. What a dumb idea.... Even dumber than that is we actually did! First we had to catch him. He is fast and occasionally will charge at you if you make him mad enough. So Dakota taught us how to rope him! Elder Wardell roped him on his first try pulled him in, grabbed his horns and got on. He doesn't buck, instead he runs forward then stops suddenly so that you hit yourself on his big horns coming out of his head. It took me a little while to rope him, about 15 tries. But I got him too! So I got on him and rode him for about 30 seconds. He was pretty tired by this time so it wasn't as bad as when Elder Wardell rode him, but it was still really cool! So on our down time this week, I would go outside and practice roping. It was really fun!

That night turned out to be a big help for us. Somehow, this big, white, pregnant goat keeps getting out and eating all the hay. So I tried to chase him but of course, she was faster than me. So I went over and grabbed the rope. First try, it got a horn but she slipped out. Second time I hit her back as she was running away from me. The last time, I got her! She was running and I was running after her and got her! It was great!!

The baptism was great! Aaron was super excited! I had to give the talk on Baptism and the Holy Ghost. I talked about rocks and how we are like them. It was going great until I forgot what I had already said. I may or may not have repeated how happy and excited we were for him like 5 times. It was great though! It only took one dunk too. :) On Sunday, he was confirmed and given a great blessing. He stood up afterwards and the congregation showed their support of Aaron getting the priesthood with the raise of the right hand. He is going to be a great, strong member of the church for the rest of his life!

My new companion is... Elder Gilson... The dots are to show that I'm not super excited. I'm excited a little but more bummed. Here's why. I got a call on Sunday saying that my new companion was going to be Elder Chace Maughan. Elder Maughan was in a 3-some with Elder Gilson and Elder Billheimer in the Deaf Branch. They are sign language missionaries! So I was super excited because I was great friends with Elder Maughan when I was serving in the east! They were in my district. I grew a lot closer to Elder Maughan cause honestly, he reminds me of Xander. :) So I call Maughan and he is super excited. Well, the next morning, I get a call from Elder Hickenlooper, my dad in the mission who is also one of the Assistants to the President. He says, I have some bad news. Apparently, Elder Billheimer sent an 11 page long text to Elder Hickenlooper last night describing why Elder Maughan needed to stay in the deaf branch and why Elder Gilson needed to leave. The A.P.'s and President decided that it was because Elder Maughan wants to be apostate in the Deaf Branch (because most missionaries that are in the deaf branch are very apostate cause there is really nothing to do...) and decided to switch Elder Maughan and Elder Gilson. Elder Gilson is from Hawaii. Well, he's lived there like the past 2 years or so, so he claims that as home. He is partially deaf and uses hearing aids so he learned sign language before his mission. The thing with Elder Gilson is that he is very very unpredictable. He throws fits and yells and complains but then will be calm, then super mad that you are mad for no reason. It really doesn't make any sense. He has been out for 6 months and feels like he's a master teacher. Everyone I've talked to says that I shouldn't let him talk in lessons cause he will just ramble on and not let me nor the person we are teaching talk. I don't know how much of that I believe but it could be true. I guess we'll find out. There are only a few people unfortunately that President feels can handle him as a companion. And for that, I am pretty happy that President feels like he can trust me. Don't get me wrong, I am excited to be with Gilson. But I am still really bummed that I lost my chance to be with Elder Maughan. But that's life, everything happens for a reason!

President Passey is from Denton, Texas. He is a Deputy regional administrator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. I don't know what that means but he has some authority. He has served as a counselor in a mission presidency and is a former counselor in a stake presidency, bishop, high councilor, and missionary in the Florida Fort Lauderdale Mission. I really like him. There haven't been any real changes as of yet. He is still new and doesn't want to just get rid of all the rules set by President Killpack. But there will be changes made! I really like him though.

Well I think that about sums up this email. I will let you guys know what my decision is with Dr. Johnson and what happens there. Thank you for your support and prayers. I love you all very much!

~Elder Kyle Harris