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" Service
"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"