Hello!! :) I can't think of any interesting ways to start off my email today... I'll try and come up with a joke as I tell about my week!
Thank you mom and dad for the Valentines package!! I love the tie and wore it that next day! :) Plus, who doesn't love getting chocolate on Valentines day?? :) Yes, I'm sharing with my companion, don't worry! He's very appreciative as well.
Dad, that's a crazy story about Elder Balaz!! Were you in on the whole set up too? It wouldn't surprise me! Did I ever tell you guys that we were going to do something like that with Elder Deyarmond? There is a family in my last ward that I was pretty close with, the Strebe's, who are super awesome members! Well, brother Strebe has a very nice all black Porche. And man, it is a beauty!! Well, we were going to play a trick on Elder Deyarmond where we knocked on a few doors in the neighborhood then walk up to his house to knock on it too. On our way to the door, I was gonna look in the car and see the keys on the front seat. I was gonna then tell Elder Deyarmond to get in and see if it started. He would have declined (hopefully!) then I would have got in instead and started it up. At that point, brother Strebe was gonna come out with his shot gun and drag me out of the car and throw me inside the house. Then when Elder Deyarmond came to get me, brother Strebe was going to grab him by the tie and pull him in and..... give him a big hug! Oh it would have been AWESOME!!! But we didn't have enough time to plan it out and set it up, unfortunately. It would have been super funny but maybe a little over the top. Well, not compared to shooting my comp with a blank! Haha!
This week was also full of ups and downs. Not bad things I guess, but sad ones. There is a single mother, Cindy, who we have been able to help come back to church. She's fantastic! She has 2 daughters, Toni and Sammi, who are super cool! Well, I've only talked to Toni on the phone while it was on speaker with Cindy and Sammi. Toni is living in Colorado with her father but she doesn't really like it a whole lot up there because her father is SUPER anti-mormon and therefore doesn't talk about Cindy at all unless it's degrading or rude. But Sammi is 14 and super funny! She isn't a member but is becoming more and more interested every time we come over! There is also another single lady, Renae, that is living there too. This last year, Cindy and Sammi were a host family for an exchange student from Germany. Her name is Frida. Frida is 17 and also super awesome! She fit in perfectly with them all! :) All 4 of them are super out random and funny and spunky, even Cindy who is in her 40's! She actually reminds me a lot of you Mom! :) Well, Frida left long before I got here to go back home to Sweden. But she came back and stayed with Cindy and the gang for 10 days! That's when I met her. She also brought along her friend Linda from Sweden who was just as awesome as the rest of the bunch! Frida and Linda aren't members either but when Frida was her for the first time, she was taking lessons from the missionaries in the singles ward. And when she and Linda came back to visit, we were able to work with them and teach them a few things and introduce them to the church and what we believe. And they LOVE it!! While they were here, they both prayed every night and read from the Book of Mormon. This wasn't just great for them, but it was great for Sammi. Sammi up to this point was not interested int he church at all. Even though her mom was becoming active, she didn't care for religion or God or anything. But having friends like Frida and Linda who she really looked up to be interested in the church, it changed her entire perspective and desire and now Sammi is reading and praying too! The Lord definitely had his hand in all 3 of their lives! Frida wouldn't have learned about the church if she didn't stay with a mormon family, especially ones that she fit in so well with. Linda wouldn't have found out about the church if she didn't come over to America with Frida. And Sammi may not have had that change of heart if she didn't have them to look up to. What a miracle!! The only sad thing is that because Frida and Linda are from Sweden and only came to visit, they are no longer here with us... They flew back to Sweden on Wednesday. :( Before they left, Elder Gudmundson and myself wrote each of them letters. Elder G put a C.T.R. ring in each of their letters and I put a C.T.R. silly band (the ones you gave me mom) in each of the letters I wrote to them too. They loved them! Cindy said they were crying when they read the letters and got the rings and bracelets. The Spirit definitely touched their hearts and they will continue to learn and grow in the Gospel back in Sweden. I know it! We already sent the referral in for the missionaries to go visit so that's not an issue anymore either. I actually got an email today from Linda. Can't wait to keep in touch with her and find out how she's doing over there!
This Saturday, the youth went to the Temple. One of the families we are working with is Rachelle Fenn, a single mother, and her 2 daughters: Naomi (16) and Emily (14). Naomi isn't very interested unfortunately, mostly because her boyfriend doesn't want her to be... But Emily is very interested. All 3 of them have been baptized but fell less-active. Rachelle and Emily have been coming back though and I think they can be considered "Active" by the standards we've been assigned as missionaries! :D Anyway, Emily told us and her young womens leader that she was going to go to the Temple but she was not excited at all and didn't even want to go. We tried talking to her about it but she just kept getting even more frustrated for some reason. When we brought up the point of the Temple she basically said, "You guys are missionaries and have to tell people this stuff. I don't want to hear it from you. And I don't want to hear it from you either mom. You are just agreeing with them because you've been convinced that their right. Well I'm not convinced and won't be until I hear it from someone else. I won't get anything from going to the Temple and I won't enjoy going." That pretty much ended that conversation... Well she did go and texted us afterwards telling us that she was sorry for the way that she reacted and even though she didn't participate in the Baptisms for the Dead, she watched and felt the Spirit. She also saw a couple come out of the Temple that were just married and sealed that day! She said that that made her decide that she wanted to get married in the Temple. THEN Sunday came along and the entire sacrament meeting was about the Temple! Both speakers talked about what we get from the Temple personally and how we help those on the other side too. It was just what Emily needed to hear. So even though Emily still is "convinced" that what we are teaching her is true, she believes bits and pieces of it. And "by small and simple things are great things brought to pass"! Keep praying for her and her family! They need the prayers! :)
I have been reading out the Book of Mormon for my personal study and have been highlighting anywhere where it says a name for God the Father, Jesus Christ, or the Holy Ghost in red. If one of the Godhead is speaking, I underline it in a red/pink pen and when an angel or other heavenly being is speaking, I highlight it in orange. On every single page of the Book of Mormon, it has multiple red markings on it where it talks about or testifies of God, Jesus Christ, or the Hole Ghost. I don't understand how people believe that we aren't Christians! So today I was reading in 1st Nephi and I finished reading the chapters where Nephi is having his vision of the Tree of Life and then everything after that. When he comes out of the vision, he comes out of his tent and finds his brothers arguing about the allegory of the Olive Tree their father told them, This never stuck out to me until today. Do you realize what this means? Lehi's teachings aren't just being thrown out the window and disregarded! They heard his words and have actually been thinking about them! Then in chapter 15 verse 21 they ask Nephi about the Tree of Life and what all that means. They means that when Lehi was preaching to them about the vision and what he saw, they listened! Even though they didn't hearken right away to the words, they listened to what he said. And not just listened but thought and pondered about it! They then talked about it with each other to try and figure out what it meant. They should have asked the Lord but because of their pride, they failed to do so. But once they humbled themselves, they asked Nephi and he answered their questions for them. This taught me something, never stop testifying and never stop teaching, even when it seems like your words are just being disregarded or not cared for. Another example of this is with Alma the younger. in Alma chapter 36. He has just been visited by an angel and was "racked with eternal torment, for [his] soul was harrowed up up to the greatest degree and racked with all [his] sins." (12) Then in verse 17 we read "And it came to pass that as I was thus racked with torment, while I was harrowed up by the memory of my many sins, behold, I remembered also to have heard my father prophesy unto the people concerning the coming of one Jesus Christ, a Son of God, to atone for the sins of the world." Then verse 18 "Now, as my mind caught hold upon this thought, I cried within my heart: O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on my, who am in the gall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting chains of death." Alma had once rejected his father and all the teachings that his father had taught him. Yet it says that he remembered them and that's what eventually saved him. I know that it's hard to see people, especially your own children, turn away from the message of the Gospel that we have accepted into our own lives. But that does not mean that she should stop teaching and testifying, even if it's only through our examples. Our words will come to their remembrance and they will someday accept the Gospel message that we have already accepted.
Well, that pretty much sums up all the important stuff! I am still working on getting an exact address for me out here.
This is for google maps and shows the dirt road that you take to get to our house but you can't go any further than this point up the dirt road. Sorry!
Thank you all for your emails and for your love and support! I definitely need it for this last little bit of my mission!
~Elder Kyle Harris
Mom- I don't have any current pictures, but here are some from my previous area. Enjoy!
Elder Deyarmond decided that for the wing challenge, to try to make the heat less intense, he would put napkins up his nose. Did it help? No...
Elder Farnworth, myself, Elder D, Elder Mitchell
All 3 of these are from 1 big painting that was on a wall in Sierra Vista. Im not exactly sure what it represents but my guess is Christ and his angels defeating the devil and his angels! Super sweet huh?