Monday, August 15, 2016

Well, this is it!

Well well well.... I'm not even sure what to say. I can't believe that these two years are coming to an end. I honestly have no idea where I would be in my life if I hadn't made the decision to serve a mission. Some people say the mission goes by fast, others say it goes by slow... I'm not exactly sure if it went by fast or slow but I do know that I wouldn't trade these two years for anything in the world. They were two years of hard work, two years of happiness, of sadness, a lot of sun, A LOT of sweating but most importantly two years of learning. I have learned more about myself, about the Gospel, and most importantly about my Savior, Jesus Christ in these past two years than I had my entire life. My testimony has been strengthened from a firm belief to a sure knowledge that the Church is true. It is true. There is no other way that we can find true happiness in this life nor in the life to come. Because of my mission I have been fully converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His church. It's impossible to help someone find and accept the Restored Gospel, and see them becoming converted without yourself becoming even more converted. That's what I'm gonna miss the most from the mission.
In our last Zone Conference, President Colleoni asked us a few questions. One of them was "Will I go home the same person that I was when I left?" In my case I'm going home completely changed. I'm still the same obnoxious kid that I was when I left home but at the same time I am completely different because of the knowledge and the perspective that I gained here on the mission. I wasn't a perfect missionary but I worked hard and was obedient. My dad always told and still tells me "Work Hard so that you can return home with no regrets." I have no regrets. If I could do it all over again I would do it the same way. I love Brazil with all of my heart. I love Natal with all of my heart and the people here. I will be going home this week but I'm positive that I'll be leaving a piece of me here.
We were able to finish off this week with one more baptism. A kid named .I was baptized. He had been going to Seminary alone for a few weeks when we started teaching him. It was a good going away present for me. Another man went to church this week for the first time and when he was leaving he told me that he wanted to be a member of this Church. He loved the church and felt the spirit. He just needs to get married first. I think if he were to have been married I would have baptized him right there! Haha the mission is great. For all of you who are thinking about serving a mission. Stop thinking and go. You'll never regret it.
Thank you guys for all the support you've given me my whole life. I can't wait to see you this week! I love you all! A IGREJA É VERDADEIRA!!

Elder Harris (for the last time)

Monday, August 8, 2016

The time is running out quickly!

Hey everyone! So we had a little PDay activity today so that's why I'm sending this so late! That also means that I don't have a whole lot of time to send this. This week was awesome! We were able to baptize J. who is the uncle of some other recent converts. We have been teaching him and his girlfriend F. for some time now. J. is the one who said that everytime he goes to the church he feels something different and wanted to baptized. His baptism was awesome! Now we're working on baptizing his girlfriend this week. We have another kid I. who is marked for this week too. He is a kid that has been going to seminary every night alone that we started teaching a little while ago. So this week is gonna be awesome! I can't believe that this week is officially my last full week of full time missionary service. The time is running out quickly. So I'll have to go out with a bang here in the home stretch!
Today for PDay we went with President Moraes and some other missionaries to Natal where we toured some old Catholic churches, some museums and took some picture close to the beach. I'll try to get the pictures to send to you guys because my memory card got yet another virus so I'm gonna have to go two weeks without a camera cuz I gave up trying to deal with it haha. I'll try to get J.'s baptism pictures from my comp too. If I don't send it today I'll send it next week. If not I'll just show it to you guys personally the next week ;) I love you all! Have an awesome week! A igreja é verdadeira!

Elder Harris

Monday, August 1, 2016

Making the most of my last little bit here in Brazil!

Hey everyone! Well this week was pretty crazy. Last p-day we got a call from the APs saying that there would be an emergency transfer, that Elder Shakespear and Elder Melo were being transferred and that I was getting a new companion. My new companion's name is Elder Bento. He's from São Paulo. He's super chill haha. He'll be a good companion to end the mission with. Elder Shakespear was a little bummed about leaving the area with only 3 weeks left which I totally understand. I'm so glad that I stayed here in Rosa dos Ventos to finish up! There are too many people here that I still need to see get baptized! We've got a few marked for this week so I'm praying that everything goes well!
On Thursday we had our mission tour with Elder Mazzagardi from the 70. It was good. He came last year too so it was my second time meeting him. It was a really good conference and it was good to see a bunch of my buddies from the mission, most of them for the last time. Holy cow how crazy is that?? Anyways, the rest of the week was spent introducing Elder Bento to our investigators and recent converts and showing him the area. He's gonna have to get the hang of things here quickly because 3 weeks isn't a whole lot of time to get to know an area. But he's a stud so it wont be a problem.
I'm extrememly excited for this week. We're gonna have to work like crazy. We had 14 investigators at church yesterday so this week we're gonna have to follow up with all of them. To be honest that's about all I remember from this week. I'm just here trying to take it all in and make the most of my last little bit here in Brazil. It honestly doesn't feel like it's all coming to an end. Everything has just become so normal here. It really feels like home to me. I really do love Brazil. But anyways, that's about it for this week. I love you all! Thanks for everything that you guys do for me! A igreja é verdadeira!

Elder Harris

Pic 1 - Pizza party farewell for Shakespear and Melo
Pic 2 - Elders from Bom Jardim!
Pic 3 - A bunch of missionaries from the Mossoró Zona
Pic 4 - Elder Petter! My son in the office haha

Monday, July 25, 2016

Best Kind of Surprise!

Hey everyone! So I don't have a whole lot of time today but I'll try to include all the most important details. To start, remember Y. and An., the two sisters from last week? So they were both baptized this week! Y. was baptized on Thursday before a ward activity so there was a bunch of people at her baptism. She has already read the entire Book of Mormon! In two weeks! She even marked her favorite verses! What?!? An. was baptized on Saturday. Turns out she wanted to surprise us telling us that she didn't want to be baptized until next year but she was gonna be baptized on our last week here. I guess she couldn't wait that long and decided to be baptized on Saturday. It was great, the whole young women's organization was there. Their mom went to both of the baptisms. The mom actually wants to be baptized too the only problem is that her husband is a gospel singer. So he goes around to a bunch of churches and they pay him to sing. And F. (their mom) says that if she were a Mormon, no one would invite them to sing anymore. That's the family's whole income so it's tough for her. But I'm positive that she'll be baptized. I just don't know when. She already has a testimony of the church and the Book of Mormon. When we talk to her about the baptism she just smiles and says God will provide a way. I love that family so much!
We've been working so hard lately! We are determined to not die before our time haha. But it's been awesome because we've been having a ton of success lately. I really love this ward so much. But anyways, that's just about it for this week. Sorry, it was quick and I wasn't able to organize my thoughts very well but I love you all! Thanks for everything! A igreja é verdadeira!

Elder Harris

Monday, July 18, 2016

This week was awesome! For real I'm like super happy today!

Hey everyone! So this week was awesome! For real I'm like super happy today. I spent the whole week in a city about a half hour south of Parnamirim called Goianinha on splits with the Elders there. It was great. It's a pretty small town and almost everyone rides horses there. It actually reminded me a bit of Beaver. Not a lot but just a bit haha. It's way pretty there, everything is so green! But anyways, I spent the week there because they have been having some difficulties so President sent me there to help out. We had an awesome week. We found a bunch of new investigators and were able to get quite a few investigators to go to church. It's a little different there because it's just a little branch so the church is a house where everyone meets. But it was an awesome experience.
The week got even better when I got back to Rosa dos Ventos and saw how much success my other companions had while I was gone. They baptized F. and I.  I don't remember if I've talked about them before but they are two brothers who we've been teaching for a bit. We've been working with the whole family actually but the parents need to get married first. The whole family went to the baptism. Unfortunately I wasn't there so I don't have a picture but oh well. I don't remember if I've told you guys about A. and Y. either. They are two sisters who we found last week. Their whole family went to church last week. I think I told you guys about them. Anyways, the girls absolutely loved the church. The mom did too but she's a little more hesitant because she's been a member of another church for 30 years now but she felt the spirit when we taught her the restoration she just is afraid of what her friends will think of her. So the daughters are absolutely loving the church. They even went all the way to Natal for a stake activity with them members yesterday and they loved it. This week they also went to an activity the ward had. While they were there at the church some leaders from the other church where they were going before went all the way to our church to try to talk them out of this whole "Mormon thing". Y. pretty much told them all off saying that when she is in the chapel she feels something different, like it's where she belongs and she knows she has to stay there. The leaders pretty much just walked out with their heads down. They are looking at being baptized next month but I'm not down to wait that long so we're gonna try to do everything for them to be baptized this week or the next.
Also last week a girl, A. came up to us who lives in our condominium complex saying that she was baptized a few years ago and wants to go back to church. She went this week with her sister and now her sister, An. wants to be baptized this week too. I'm so excited for this week!
Sorry for the freaking long email but this this afternoon we had a barbeque with the elders here in rosa dos ventos. We live in a condominium complex like I just said and they've got a big barbeque area right next to the pool so we splurged and bought a bunch of meat, grilled it up, and had a good time. Shame we can't use the pool haha. But it was awesome.
That's about it for this week. I love you all! Thanks for everything you guys do for me! A igreja é verdadeira!

Elder Harris

Pics 1-4 - Goianinha
Pic 5 - My representation of the Restoration Pamphlet. (the picture had to be taken quickly because he was trying to eat the pamphlet the whole time)
The rest of the Pics - Barbeque!

Monday, July 11, 2016

The Gospel is like Pole Vaulting...and Once the Bar is Raised, it Can't be Lowered...

Hey everyone! So this week was really good. We had transfers and I stayed! So I will officially be finishing up here in Rosa dos Ventos with Elder Shakespear who is also finishing up and Elder Melo who's been out for about 5 months. Poor thing haha.
So on Friday we had a "get to know the new president" conference. It was really quick but it was fun to meet him. His name is President Colleoni from São Paulo. He seems like so much fun! He gave a really quick but really powerful talk. One thing that he said that caught my attention is that the Gospel is like pole vaulting. Every time we succeed the bar is raised a little. And once the bar is raised it can't be lowered. The Gospel is all about progression. If we aren't progressing we aren't accomplishing what we should be. It's an interesting perspective haha.
So we found an awesome family Saturday night. We made the first contact with the daughter then we went to her house to talk with her family and met her sister and her parents. At first they were reluctant to talk to us because we're Mormons ya know... but after a bit they all opened up to us and they even came to church yesterday. The mom and dad are still a little skeptical because they are from a different church since pretty much the beginning of time but they liked it. The daughters loved it. One thing that I love about this ward is how well they fellowship our investigators. Yesterday we had 10 investigators at church and they were all well received. Cl. was confirmed yesterday. We also brought a couple to church that we've been teaching for about a week and a half or so. The man came up to me in between the classes and was like... what do I need to do to get baptized? I was like you just did it! Next week haha. We're gonna prepare him well for next week. Another 11 year old girl who is a friend of a boy who was baptized a little bit ago also came up to me and asked the same thing! But seeing as we don't even know her parents we're gonna meet them this week and fingers crossed that it all works out! Haha man I love Brazil.
S.'s kids were both baptized this week too! Their family is so great! It's funny because they aren't necessarily our investigators but I consider them to be because we helped teach them and they technically live in our area so we visit them a lot haha. But anyways, that's about it for this week. I love you all! Thanks for all that you do for me! A igreja é verdadeira!

Elder Harris

Pic 1 - Brothers and their sons on the mission haha.
Pic 2 - Our group
Pic 3 - Jeovani, Pres. Colleoni's son.
Pic 4 - Pretty much the whole district from Mossoró together again haha.
Pic 5 - One more...
Video - Me trying to chase a goose... the goose won.

Monday, July 4, 2016

I was just kinda there for man labor!

Hey everyone! Happy 4th of July! To be honest I only remembered last night... I love Brazil with all of my heart but I'm not gonna lie, every once in a while I miss good ol' America. But anyways, this week was awesome!
We helped a member put an engine into an old car that he's been working with. It was fun but I don't really know anything about cars so I was just kinda there for man labor haha.
Cl. was finally baptized yesterday! We've been working with her since we got here in this area. She is J.'s neighbor who was baptized last week. Her mom is a less active that we are reactivating. Anyways, Cl. was super involved in the Assembly of God church when we started working with her which was tough because she liked it there and all the members there were saying a bunch of stuff to her about the Mormons to get her to not talk to us anymore. But with time she started to get more and more converted to the gospel and finally accepted baptism.
The other elders here also had a baptism. It was a lady named S. I actually had the opportunity to teach her a bit so I already knew her pretty well. She is awesome. Literally one of the Lord's elect. She accepted the gospel and within 3 weeks was baptized. She's a single mother with 4 kids. 2 of them will be getting baptized next week so we're all excited for that. The other two are too young. But it's a great family.
So this week officially marks the start of my last transfer here! I can't believe it! I'm praying that I don't leave Rosa dos Ventos! I love it so much here and we have so many awesome investigators! I don't want to start all over at the very end. *knock on wood*. Haha last night we had a family night with a bunch of the members which we were able to take J.P. to. The members love him. It's just a matter of time until he's baptized. But that's really about it for this week. I love you all! Thanks for everything! A igreja é verdadeira!

Elder Harris

Pic 1 - Working on the Car
Others- Random plus the family night from last night