Hello Hello Hello!! I can hardly keep my eyes open because of how tired I am! This week has been fantastic but super busy which isn't necessarily a bad thing, just hard having to get up at 6:30 when we don't get to bed till around 11 or so. That hasn't been an issue in any of my other areas but it is in this one. I don't know why but that's okay! I have so much to tell you guys and so little time! Not to mention all the questions you asked mom :P I'll answer those first!
Is your comp a Spanish speaking missionary? Tell about the area your in. Are you in a ward, wards, stake? It seems as though your area is HUGE! How can 2 missionaries accomplish work in that big of an area? Are there that few people or just not very many investigators?
I also need and EXACT address!! How can I look at your place on Google if I don’t have an address? My companions name is Elder Justin Gudmundson. I don't know if his mother has a facebook but I can imagine so! Maybe if you find him, you can find her too. He is not a spanish speaking missionary but I wish he was! I am trying really hard to learn spanish out here but it isn't going super great... But I'm still trying! We are in the Sahuarita 4th Ward but our area is still pretty big. It's not 4500 square miles big but it takes us about 30 to 45 minutes to get home from the main part of our area. We also cover a few ranches out here and the houses are few and far in between. (Is that the way you use that saying? I hope so!) We are working with a few investigators but quite a few less-active families as well that just need to be active but they are holding themselves back! The address I gave you is the only address that I have... We live out in the middle of nowhere and then past that down some dirt roads. I'll do my best to get it up on Google Maps or something and send you the link. okay? :)\
Tell about being a zone leader! How many missionaries are in your zone? What are your duties as a ZL? Oh maybe you said that the area you work in is your Zone not your service area? I love being a zone leader! It isn't really much different than being a normal missionary or a district leader except that people seem to respect you more, both missionaries and members. We have I believe 10 companionships in the zone including Elder Gudmundson and myself. All we do is help out missionaries when they are having problems getting along and we usually do that through exchanges. We also get all the zones numbers for the week on Sunday night's. We prepare and give a training about once a transfer or so. And that is pretty much it! We are pretty much just missionaries who have a nice red truck and get to drive it around a lot and go on a lot of exchanges! haha
How’s the knee? Is it getting better? Are you still in a car or are you back to a bike? My knee is doing alright. The only time it hurts is when I try to dunk again so it looks like I'm going to have to hold off on that for a little while longer. We played volleyball this morning with about 10 other people and it felt great the whole time that I was diving and jumping to spike or block the ball. I haven't been icing it or wearing my brace very much but I think that I'm going to start doing that so that I can show you that I can actually dunk, and not just on a 6 foot hoop. :P
No pic's this week- sorry mom! Alright, I think that's about all of them! haha
So I have some great news, some bad news, some more bad news, and some good news. One of the bad topics and the good topic are the same one, just different perspectives I guess for being in the church! Let's start off with the great news.
In the last couple of emails and some more about a year ago or so, I told you about a guy I had been working with named Sean Connolly. He is about 26 I believe and has completely turned his life around! Last time we talked about him I told you that he was preparing himself to go to the Temple and thinking about a mission. Well, I received a call from him this week... He is doing very well and wanted to tell me that he just got his Temple Recommend and will be attending the Gila Valley Temple in about 3 weeks! He then started to ask me what the person was called that guided you through the Temple for the first time. I told him that I thought it was called an escort and he said "That's right! An escort. Elder Harris, I want you to be my escort when I go through the Temple." I just sat there trying to make sure I heard him right. And I did hear him right! He asked me to escort him! I know that it's not like a big deal to some people but for me, it is the best thing that has happened to me my whole mission!! So that will be happening probably in the first week in March! :D
Lets do the first sad news then we can end with the bad/good news. The first bad news is that one of our investigators had a nephew that just passed away on Saturday in a car accident... They aren't sure exactly what happened and they are still investigating that but we know it was a head-on collision and the impact was bad enough that he didn't make it. His name was Gregory. He was only 21 but is leaving behind a wife and 3 small children.... He wasn't a member of the church which makes it even harder on his family. That is my other bad news as well. In the Casas Adobes ward (my first area) the sisters helped baptize a woman named Nicki Clifton. She was able to go through the Temple and take out her endowments then go 2 more times for some of her family names. I believe that it was on Monday I received a call from Chuck Swegle, my old ward mission leader from Casas Adobes Ward. He let me know that Gayle, Nicki's boy friend, came home one night and Nicki was asleep, well so he thought. When he tried to wake her up, she wouldn't.... They don't know the cause of death, just that it was sudden and unexpected. Death is so hard for those people that don't know about the plan of salvation. But that's why Nicki's story isn't all bad. She not only fully accepted the Gospel but went to the Temple, took out her endowments, and loved the church with all her heart! She had accomplished everything that she came to this earth to do and was able to depart in peace. We were able to attend her funeral in Tucson on Saturday and that allowed me to see some old friends from my old area. It was a great service and the Spirit was definitely there. :)
We taught quite a few lessons this week. Two memorable ones were to a part member family and two non-member sisters living together. The part member family includes Liz, Trina, and Nichole. All 3 of them are also recent converts and were baptized just a few months ago or so. Trina is the grandmother, Liz is the mother, and Nichole is the daughter of Liz. Liz also has 2 sons that aren't in the picture. Well, they weren't until just recently. One of her sons, Justin, came home and had been living with them for a little while. But he was into some pretty heavy drugs and was on his way to make a drug deal but the dealer was actually an undercover cop. Justin was taken into custody and stayed in jail till his trial which he pled guilty at then was allowed to go home for some reason for a few days before taking him to prison. So we went over on Friday at the request of his mother and himself and taught him the lessons. Not just a lesson, all 3 that are required before baptism. They include the Restoration, the Plan of Salvation, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We ate some lunch then started our teaching. We were there for about 4 hours teaching and talking and laughing but time flew by! And Justin just ate it all up!! He loved everything that he heard and he said that everything made sense to him. When we teach, we should follow an outline that goes "Teach, Ask, Ask". First you teach a principle or doctrine then you ask a question to check for understanding. Then you ask a question to see how they would apply that topic into their life. We tried this with Justin and he didn't just answer everything right, he did it while bearing his testimony! It was so amazing! :) Unfortunately, he has been taken away and is in prison but the good news is that he now has the Gospel and will be able to read from the Book of Mormon while he is in there! While we were teaching about the Plan of Salvation, I found a really cool scripture about God creating the earth through Jesus Christ. I marked it cause I liked it then felt prompted to write it down. That leads into the other memorable lesson.
We are teaching 2 ladies, sisters I believe. Vikki and Brinda. Vikki claimed that she was baptized when she was 18 but left the church soon afterwards. It has been over 50 years now since then and we have been trying for weeks I guess to find her records but to no avail. So she might need to be re-baptized. The other lady, Brinda, believes that Joseph Smith was a prophet completely and totally but doesn't agree with a lot of church doctrine. When we started teaching, we were teaching the Plan of Salvation, I asked to use the restroom. When I came back out they were talking about how Jesus created the heavens and the earth. Brinda stopped him and said "That isn't true. God created the earth." He tried to show her a scripture in the Book of Mormon but she said "Where in the Bible does it say that it was Jesus and not God that created the earth??" That's when I walked in and said "Actually, I have a scripture I can show you if that's okay.It's found in Ephesians 3:9 which reads 'And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ.' So as you can see, Jesus Christ created the heavens and the earth through the power of God." THAT IS THE SCRIPTURE THAT I RANDOMLY FOUND IN MY LESSON WITH JUSTIN!!! Coincidence? I think NOT! But it was just super cool because she realized that we were right and she started to open up and ask us more questions that we were able to answer for her. That lesson was definitely guided by the Spirit and everyone in that room felt His presence and it testified to everything that we were saying! I LOVE THIS GOSPEL!!!
The last thing is just something cool that happens up at the ranch where we live. We live with a member and her non-member husband in a second little house that they own on that same property. Well, my first morning in the area, I got up and looked out the window. There were about 4 deer just chillin outside! And I was only about 10 feet from them! So I grabbed my camera and took a picture or two. But then the guy who we live with (I don't remember his name... I've only met him once...) came out and scared them away... He went into his shed and got a big bucket filled with corn. Then went around his yard and dumped out into little piles all the corn int he bucket. Then he hit the bucket against a tree and walked back inside. What strange behavior I thought to myself. But then... Then... about 20 deer came running out of the bushes and shrubbery around our house and filled the whole back yard while eating the corn!! It was the coolest thing ever!! I left my camera in the car one night and that next morning there was a 4x4 buck just chillin out there with the rest of the deer! When I tried to sneak outside to get my camera he ran off and we haven't seen him back yet but he will be back soon! :)
I love it out here. The church is most definitely true in every way! Our leaders are guided and inspired by God and Jesus Christ through the Holy Ghost. And I know that this work that we are all called to do and that I am currently doing 24/7 is the greatest work we can do on this earth! I love this Gospel so much! I love you all too and hope that your week is as good as mine will be!
~Elder Kyle Harris