Ding, ding ding.... Good morning! Ding ding ding... bua-da-da-dow! Dow! Rra-da-da-da GOOD MORNING!! This is what we wake up to every...single...morning... I want to get up and just throw my phone across the room. It gets me up but it definitely gets old after like a thousand-million times! This is what it sounds like: <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1I7D5MsSvU>. BLEH!!! haha I'm just too lazy to change it so I can't really complain. :P
This week was just about as great as every other normal week in the mission. We were pretty busy almost all week, every hour. That is pretty good for us! I don't remember if I said this in my last email but it is SUPER difficult to get the middle of our days filled up because people are either working or the kids are in school. That really limits the work we can do in the day and puts a lot of stress on the nights because we are just packed every night trying to visit everyone that we can. We are going to try to do splits pretty much every night this week. That way, we can both go out and visit everyone we need to and either focus both on 1 of the wards, or split and have one focus on Pima 1st and the other on Pima 4th. We are working with about 27 families or individuals right now. Lots of those are in Bylas and we only have enough miles to go out there like once every week or so. But there is a lot of cool things happening out there right now! I am going to be jumping around with my days a little bit but it will flow a little better.
On Wednesday we went out to Bylas. Elder Gilson and I found a map in our apartment of Bylas that is about 10 years old. It just shows some of the roads but is super out of date. Well, having a map that is 4 feet tall and 4 feet wide of mostly just empty space (cause there is one road into Bylas and one road out of Bylas), we needed another map that we could carry around and give to our ward council in Fort Thomas Ward so they knew who we were working with, where our investigators lived, and most importantly, where some less-actives live. So we just drew out a copy of the big map we have hanging on our wall and have been using that. Not super effective... Every time we go to Bylas, we ask everyone we see if they know where we can go to get a map of Bylas. No one has a clue!! Well, we finally are told that we might be able to get a map from the Bylas Administration Building. I didn't even know there was such a building!! Turns out, it is a little trailer back behind all the other buildings that we tried going into. So we go in there and sure enough, they have map! But it isn't just a map, it is a map with all the houses on it so that we can circle where the people we are working with live! So that was a miracle. Then the lady behind the desk asks us where we are from. We said the normal, "Salt Lake, Utah" and "The big Island of Hawaii". Of course they were amazed by Hawaii. Everyone always is! She then says to us, "My brother lives up in Provo and is a Mormon." I asked if she was a member and she said, "No. I went to seminary and was part of the Lamanite program though and used to have missionaries come over all the time but they just stopped for some reason." WE FOUND A FORMER!!!! And she is a GOLDEN investigator. :) We are going to start teaching her and seeing what she needs to get baptized!
On Tuesday was our Zone Conference.... WE WATCHED "MEET THE MORMONS"!!! It was absolutely one of the best movies that I have seen in a very very long time!! The Spirit was super strong and it really cleared up so many misconceptions of what the church and it's members believe. Have you guys had a chance to see it yet? If not, GO!!!!!!!! It would be an awesome family night activity! Or any other night works too but just go! Our zone also sang a song called "Come Unto Christ". It is the 2014 Church Theme Song. Here is the link: <https://www.lds.org/youth/video/come-unto-christ-2014-theme-song?lang=eng> I love this song and the children's song "Gethsemane". <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5uSGSvKy6Io> Pretty amazing songs! Anyway, I got to sing a solo part in "Come Unto Chirst". I sang the second line at the beginning of the song. We had a returned sister missionary play for us on the piano and it was just amazing! I didn't even freak out about singing in front of everyone! Looks like I'm picking up a few new talents out here! And I'm learning to play the Piano too (well, teaching myself kinda counts as learning I guess) and I can play the song "Hallelujah" and sing it. It's pretty much amazing! I might record it for you and send it home, but no promises. :)
Thursday we went to do the ASL class again but no one was there.... No one showed up again for the second week in a row. We got the information for the program people for all of the pima stake but we need it for the Safford and Thatcher stakes now too. Hopefully this week will turn out a little bit better than the first 2 weeks!
Hope is doing very well. She has lots of energy and has been praying every day. We talked about the Book of Mormon and she mentioned that she had read part of it in the past. She loved the testimony of the 3 witnesses and said that it really touched her because she saw that it wasn't just Joseph Smith that said it was true and that saw an angel, it was more than that! And with more witnesses comes more evidence and that is exactly what she needs right now. I have a very strong feeling that she, Faith (her mother) and her little sister are going to get baptized before the end of the year! :) I don't think that I'm going to be here when it happens unfortunately but I just can't wait hear when it finally happens! Hope wasn't going to come to church yesterday. She said that she didn't feel very good and didn't think she would like it. We showed up on Sunday for Sacrament meeting and SHE WAS THERE sitting with Faith and hopes little sister!! (I feel bad cause I don't know her name... I've only met her twice...) But she actually came! And both of the talks were exactly what they needed to hear. The first one was about overcoming our trials and the second one was about obedience. Hope said that she really loved it and would be coming back next week too. SWEET!!!!!!! :) :)
The best part of the week though was on Saturday. There was a 7 stake youth conference held at Eastern Arizona College this weekend. It was all day Saturday and started from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Well, they were going around to classes and Elder Gilson and I were asked to teach 3 lessons that were 25 minutes each. We said that we would love to! We talked about examples and how through our examples, we can inspire others. We were told to have an object lesson so the kids would stay interested. So for our object lesson, we had 3 tennis balls and a big bag of flour. The tennis balls were the talking balls, you couldn't talk if you didn't have the ball. But to make things more interesting, we would put the ball into the big bag of flour and then as we'd throw it, the flour would trail behind the ball, leaving flour EVERYWHERE!!! After talking about how we can share the Gospel through inviting people to mutual or through social media, we asked who had a chance to catch the flour-covered ball. About 1/3 to 1/2 of the class raised their hands. We then asked how many people had flour on them from the cloud of flour that came off the ball. Almost all the hands were raised. We then talked about how the ball represents us and the flour represents our examples. A quote I heard once says " Preach the gospel. If you have to, use words." Our examples are SOO powerful. Even though we may not talk to everyone in the hall at school or be friends with everyone around us, our examples and our lives being centered around Jesus Christ and His Gospel will effect everyone around us. (We were told that flour glows under a black light. At this point we were going to turn off the lights and show everyone how even though they didn't all touch the ball, all of them had a little bit of flour on them from the trail. But it doesn't glow so that part didn't work. But it was still super great!!) We also read the scripture in 1 Tim 4:12 I think that says "Be thou and example of the believers". We then read the next part of the verse and explained that it doesn't say to be an example when surrounded by other members or surrounded by our friends, but to be an example all the time. The lesson was a very powerful one and the kids all left from the class covered in flour and having learned how important living the Gospel everywhere all the time is. :)
All in all, this was a pretty fantastic week! I can't believe that I am over 16 months old in the mission... Time is flying by! If I was a sister missionary, I would be coming home in December!! Now that's a scary thought.... Good thing I still have 7 1/2 more months to go! :) I love you guys! Sorry I haven't sent that package yet... It is still on it's way, eventually... Lol. I will do my best to get it there this week! I LOVE YOU ALL!!!!
~Elder Kyle Harris
p.s. Dear Thomas Family, thank you for the Halloween package you sent us. (Please say the words in the " " in a sarcastic tone of voice) We "definitely needed" more candy. Haha But we seriously do appreciate it and love you guys. We hope and pray all is going well for you all and that everyone is healthy and happy!