Monday, December 29, 2014

Have a wonderful New Year!

So I hope you all had a wonderful and a Merry Christmas.  My Christmas was a different experience that´s for sure.  I´m not used celebrating Christmas in July yet haha.  But other than that it was awesome!  On Christmas eve we went to a member's house and they had all sorts of fancy looking food.  I couldn´t tell you what any of it was but all I know is there were no rice nor beans so I was happy! ;)  On Christmas we had breakfast as a district and the Brazilians wanted the Americans to cook so we made french toast and homemade syrup cuz Brazil doesn´t have syrup.  And a bunch of fruit.  and I finally used that peanut butter I brought with me.  Haha it was so bomb if I do say so myself ;)  Anyways then we went to lunch at a member's house who lives forever and a day away so we started walking and a member who was going to the same place pulled up and took pity on us and gave us a ride!  Yes, you read that right, I rode in a car!  I´ve never been so excited about such a thing!  It was amazing, we made it there in a little under 10 minutes!  I´m so used to walking 30 minutes to an hour everywhere we go.  I felt like a little kid going to Disneyland for the first time!  I had my face and hands pressed up against the windows watching all of the buildings fly by... at about 30 miles per hour.  I´ll tell you what, that was incredible.  For sure a Christmas miracle ;)  Haha we had another good lunch there where I once again am not sure what I ate.  It looked pretty much like thick stew on rice and it wasn´t too bad haha.  We then killed a chicken and threw it in a box and took it back to town with us to give to a member haha.  Haha the gifts people give are a little different here but it´s the thought that counts right? ;)  It was great to see all of my family on Christmas!  The Brazilians were absolutely amazed that the kids could speak perfect English.  They couldn´t even fathom it.  haha I was like, what did you think happens, we learn Portuguese until we turn 15 and then switch to English or what? Haha 
            Anyways so this week has been awesome!  Me and my comp have actually been working super hard!  Haha on Christmas Eve and on Christmas my comp and I wore our Santa Claus hats (Because it wasn´t quite hot enough)  Haha and every little kid that saw us was like "Papai Noel!  Papai Noel!!"  The kids here are so easy to please, throw on a hat and BAM! you´re Santa Claus...  Haha so I said we´ve been working hard, we´ve been having about 5-6 lessons per day.  We have 15 investigators right now on top of our recent converts and less actives.  So we´ve been working our tails off trying to get them all what they need but it has been awesome!  We started teaching a girl named B.  She is 16 years old and she is the daughter of U. who is the one who was having car troubles awhile ago.  Well he´s been progressing really really slowly and wont come to church with us and he says he can´t read the Book of Mormon because he has bad eyes and needs new glasses so we´ve thought about maybe having to drop him but we´ve stuck with him.  Well his daughter B. always walks by when we´re over there but she goes really fast and would never look at us or anything.  So one day we go and his daughter is the only one home so we ask if we could just talk to her.  We kept it pretty simple and gave her a Book of Mormon and invited her to read and by the end of the lesson she promised us she would come to church with us on Sunday but everyone always says they will so we didn´t get our hopes up too high.  Well anyways we came back the next day which was Saturday and she comes out to meet us and was really excited and said she read in the Book of Mormon and loved it and wanted to come to church so we picked her up yesterday and took her to church and while we were there we were just kind of asking her how she was liking it and she asked to see one of our planners so she took my companion´s and started writing in it.  Then she handed it to us and we read and it said how she said she was happy before but she feels true joy now being at church and how thankful she was to be there and so on and so forth.  This was only two days after we first talked to her.  It was so cool!  We invited her to mutual and she was really excited about that too.  So I´m excited to see how she progresses and hopefully that will speed up the progression of U. too.  
           We also started teaching an 88 year old lady M.  She is wonderful.  Her husband died so she lives alone so she loves the company.  She´s Catholic so she loves the bible and Jesus and all that stuff but more than anything, she loves to talk.  She talks so much!  Haha we could hardly get through the first lesson without her going off about her kids that live in other parts of Brazil and she speaks so fast so it´s super hard to understand her.  We talked about faith and that apparently reminded her of a hymn so she just went off singing this whole hymn about faith.  Then when we were saying the closing prayer she started mumbling her own prayer and praising Jesus and then we said amen and she stands up with arms stretched high saying "Louvor a Deus!  Meu pastor é Jesus! Aleluja!" Which means "Praise God, My shepherd is Jesus! Hallelujah!"  Haha if nothing else it was extremely entertaining.  Anyways, The church is true, I hope you all have a wonderful New Years.  I love you guys!  Talk to you next year! 
 
Elder Harris #2
Papai Noel spreading Christmas cheer and the Good Word of God!

Devin's district on Christmas Eve

Devin and his companion, Elder Chagas
 
 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Merry Christmas!

So this week was great.  We started out on Tuesday with our Conferencia de Natal in Natal.  It´s the one time of the year when the whole mission gets together.  We woke up at 2:30, yes, 2:30 in the morning to get to Natal on time.  Which was a little ridiculous if you aske me.  It was a blast and they did a bunch of skits and such and I got to talk with Elder Albee and Elder Cragun, my companions from the CTM.  It was so cool to see them and to catch up with them in all portuguese!  I remember when we first arrived we were like, there´s no way, but it was awesome to see the improvement.  So the problem about the Conference was that the food was bad... the next day just about every missionary in the Brasil Natal mission where sick.  All four missionaries in our house and the sisters were so sick the next day!  I thought the food from the wedding was bad awhile back!  We could hardly even leave our house without having to run back up stairs to the bathroom!  Man, no good... no good... But other than that, it was good...  It was great to see all the mail they had for the missionaries at the conference and to go through and realize none of it was mine... (I cried for three days) It´s not like I´m bitter about it or anything...  Haha jk I sure hope Santa Claus remembers me this year cuz if not, it´s gonna be a pretty lame Christmas!  Haha looks like I´ll really have to be relying on He is the Gift ;)  So we had a baptism yesterday with a man names S. He´s like 60 years old.  I was the one that baptized him and after I said the prayer I kinda of lifted his hand so he could plug his nose and started to cross himself!  He got to his forehead back down to his chest and I just held as tightly as I could so he couldn´t finish it and we finally got him to go down.  Then right as he comes up he yells, Man this water is freezing!  Haha yeah I don´t know about him.  He´s a really great guy.  So yesterday we went to lunch at a members house and they had american football playing!  It was a re-run of the 49ers and the Chargers that went into overtime.  It was so good to finally see something besides soccer on tv!  The Brazilian announcers where about as helpful as the BHS Cheerleaders though... "Oh! hit him!,  Wow he´s fast, Oh no, he fell down"  And then every once in a while they would throw in some random english phrase like, Show me the money philip rivers!  Haha Idk, I thought it was kinda funny.  But that was about it for this week.  We´re still working with U.  He is great but wont come to church with us so we´re gonna keep trying with him.  Three of our other investigators are out of town for Christmas, so we haven´t been able to talk to them.  We´ve been working a lot with references from the ward and we´ve found some pretty great people, We´ve just gotta work with them.  But that is about it for this week.  I love you guys!  

Elder Harris
 
 
Elder Cragun, Devin, and Elder Albee

President and Sister Soares with Devin

Spreading a little Christmas cheer!  The sisters felt sorry for the elders because their apartment has no Christmas decorations so they pulled this out of the trash and decorated it for them!
 
 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Another Awesome Week!

So this week was awesome.  Usually I take time every Sunday to go through my journal and write down little experiences that I want to share with you guys that happen throughout the week.  But I forgot to do that this week so I´m sure there will be some things that I forget to tell you so I apologize.  But this week was great for sure.  I want to start out by saying that I absolutely love it here!  I could honestly stay in Currais Novos for my entire mission and be completely happy!  The people here are incredible!  I love all of the members and our investigators.  I now know what they are talking about when they say to love the people.  It´s going to be almost just as hard to leave these people when I get transfered than it was when I left for my mission!  The only problem is that I should have brought more little gifts for everyone here because all you want to do is give to people here.  I´m already down 3 ties, my favorite pair of shorts, and my CTR ring!  And before my mission there´s no way I would have given all those things but when you see how blessed you are it makes you just want to give.  There´s nothing more satisfying than seeing the looks they have when you give them a little gift.  It´s incredible.  The only problem is that if I keep it up I´ll be out of clothes and things to give in a couple months.  Haha anyways I don´t think there was any crazy stories for you this week.  No one threw any two by fours at us this week so that was a plus haha.  Last night we went to a members house, P.  We go to her house every Sunday night and eat tapioca.  Now I know what you´re all thinking, no this tapioca is nothing like in the States.  I honestly have no idea how to explain Brazilian tapioca.  You take this white brick and then grind it into a super fine powder and you can add salt if you want then you just put it into a pan like pancakes but you don´t mix it with water or anything and it just kinda melts together and when it´s done it kind of has the texture of a tough marshmallow.  It´s super good though.  Then you can put anything inside of it that you want.  Usually butter and scrambled eggs.  It´s so good!  But anyways, today we decided to wake up at 5:00 sharp to walk to the big Cruzeira here.  It was awesome, I´ll send pictures of it.  So Friday they had another wedding and we did a service project to help set up and decorate for it... We were there for literally 7 hours!  Man it took a long time but thank goodness for all those years of Interior Design in high school, they really paid off for me ;)  Someone is gonna have to thank Mrs. Blackner for me ;)  Haha it was the third wedding in two weeks.  Man, I´ll tell you what, there´s nothing like a good wedding to make you feel trunky.  Gotta love it haha.  Sorry this email isn´t very detailed but I forgot to plan better haha.  I love you all!  Have a great week!  A igreja é verdadeiro!
 
Elder Devin Harris
 



The field we weeded for service last week
 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

One Transfer Down!

*Devin emailed us today instead of Monday due to transfers.

Well everyone, I´ve officially made it through my first transfer!  It was so cool!  I´ll be staying in Currais Novos for at least one more which I am super excited about!  It´s going to be hard to leave when I finally have to though.  And I have a feeling that´s how every area will be.  I love all of these people here so much!  They´re all so great!  I´m so glad that I wasn´t transferred right before Christmas too because it´ll already be hard not being home for Christmas but at least now, I´ll be with people that I know and love here :)  It´s so weird because it doesn´t feel like Christmas at all here!  I see Christmas trees and lights and I´m like, why are these up in July??  And then I´m like... oh yeah haha.  It´s December.  So our mission has also started the "He Is a Gift".  But here it´s "Ele É o Presente"  and the video is just as good so if any of you guys feel like you want to watch the video in Portuguese go to natal.mormon.org  It´s a great video!  Haha so this week was good.  To start out, we were at V´s house earlier this week, She is a recent convert and we´ve just been trying to keep her firm in the church..  Anyways we were waiting on her little porch thing waiting for her to finish getting ready and some drunk guy comes hobbling down the road, There are so many drunk guys here and they ALWAYS stop and talk to the missionaries.  Anyways he saw us there so he just came and sat down and started talking to us.  He took his shirt off and put it back on about 7 times while he was talking to us, which is not easy for a drunk guy so we enjoyed watching him struggle with it.  Then he looked at me and was like, are you a Brazilian?  and I´m like no I´m American, and then he´s like, but you speak Brazilian!  And he was so excited about it.  And I´m like, yeah no big deal or anything but a drunk guy thinks I´m fluent in Portuguese ;)  Haha then he started crying and was like, Will you guys help me??  He repeated that about ten times and we told him we would every time but he just kept on repeating it.  He then continued to express his love for us and we gave him a pamphlet (not sure how to spell that to be honest, this Portuguese is ruining my English)  And we sent him on his way haha. It was so funny!  The language is coming along but every once in a while I do some pretty stupid things.  The other day we were in the street talking to some guy and it was going good and I was understanding quite a bit and then I thought the guy randomly asked me "Você gosta de limãos?"  Which means do you like limes, so I´m like haha yeah.  Well turns out he said "Você é Alimão?"  Which means are you German?  So I accidentally told him I was German.  Oops.  Friday they had a wedding at the church with two members.  They always do a ceremony at the church because they don´t have a temple close by and most of the friends aren´t members.  And anyways they had tons of cupcakes and stuff and we were leaving and one of the members came up to me with a big platter of cupcakes and said something that I didn´t quite understand but it looked like she was offering me cupcakes so I was like, “Sure! Thanks!” and took one.  She then looked at me with a blank stare and walked away... About 5 seconds later it registered in my mind what she said.  She said, Did you try these cupcakes and did you like them?”  She was taking the plate home to her family.  Oops again haha.  Oh well I got another cupcake out of it ;)  The next day after the wedding was not the best.  The wedding had some bad food and all of the elders and sisters woke up sick haha.  We were running to the bathroom about every 20 minutes... I felt so bad for the member whose house we ate lunch that day... Poor bathroom... So yeah, needless to say we kept the proselyting pretty close to the house that day because we had to return often haha.  We weren´t about to risk an emergency an hours walk away from the house!  Haha so this week we had two service projects.  I didn´t get pictures of either sadly...  The first one, we weeded the dirt soccer field that the church has which was a pain!  I ended up breaking three of the hoes... Eventually they were like, “Alright, that´s it.  The American can´t hoe anymore!”  Haha it was funny, I got some pretty nice blisters too which sucked because here you clap at the front doors/gates of peoples´ houses and it hurt so bad!  The other service project we did was painting the front fence of a members house but that was pretty uneventful.  Yesterday we had lunch with a member who is super, super sweet.  Afterwards, she said she was feeling sick and achy so we offered to give her a blessing so we did, and afterwards she was crying and thanking us and it was just a really cool experience.  Another experience that we had yesterday is walking down the street a drunk guy threw a 2 by 4 at us from across the street.  It hit the ground right in front of us, We were like, what the heck just happened??  And then we looked and saw some drunk running/hobbling away haha.  It was pretty funny too but that was about it for this week.  Have a great week all of you!  I love you guys! Church is true!

Elder Devin Harris

Picture - This is L.  She was wearing my name tag and wanted to take a picture haha.  Excuse the sweaty face and the messy hair, it was a long day haha.


Monday, December 1, 2014

Chicken Hearts, Beef Hearts, and Bat!

Hey everybody!  So this week was good, I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving.  So Brazil doesn´t celebrate Thanksgiving except for Currais Novos, the area where I´m serving.  It is the only city in Brazil that does.  The reason being because the Mayor here spent some time in the US and thought Thanksgiving was a wonderful holiday so he started it up here.  They don´t do anything about it though they just say it´s Dia de Graças and that´s about it so I had some fantastic beans and rice for a Thanksgiving dinner ;)  Oh well, at least I´m keeping my weight in check ;)  But I did get a chance this Thanksgiving to think about all that I´m thankful for and for the many things I´ve been blessed with.  The people, like Colton mentioned in his letter, dream of visiting Utah.  It is literally their lifelong dream to live in Utah.  Don´t take all the stuff you have there for granted!  Colton said in his letter that he was grateful for road construction because to have smooth roads.... I´ll be honest I´m not to that point yet because when you´re walking it doesn´t really make a difference ;)  Haha no but for real, I´ve been blessed with so many things and being born into this church is definitely one of the biggest blessings I´ve had.  Being in Utah, you get used to the Mormon Culture I guess you could say.  Being out here really opens your eyes to how blessed we are to have the gospel in our lives. 
           Haha So I don´t have any crazy stories for you this week, The other day my comp and I were walking down the road and some people came up to us and asked if we wanted to give blood and my comp was kinda hesitant but I was like sure why not?  So we got in there and turns out Americans can´t give... So that was almost a cool experience that I didn´t end up having ;)  Yesterday we had Stake Conference in Caicó so the whole ward hopped on a bus and we took off to Caicó.  The ward members here are awesome!  They´re so much fun.  We had a good meeting there and then came home.  We went to lunch at the member, M.´s house, where we eat all the time.  And she came out with................ Bats... Yes the animal.  I have now officially eaten bat... It actually wasn´t too bad.  You know what they call bats right?  Chicken of the Cave ;)  I had to throw in an Anchorman 2 quote ;) Haha the food here is definitely different but it´s almost always good.  You know, it´s funny because they say in our church not to gamble... but I gamble at almost every meal.  Some of the best food here is the stuff that looks the grossest.  But also some of the grossest food here looks the grossest also so It´s like a 50/50 ;)  I can honestly say though, that cow heart and chicken heart are so good!  They definitely are some of my favorite things here.  I told you guys about the shishkabobs.  I always get one with beef heart.  It´s so good!  Haha so last night one of the sisters was sick so they took her to the hospital... gotta love sister missionaries overexagerrating things.  So to be nice we went to the hospital to see how she was doing and man, I hope I never need the hospital here, that place was sketchy!  We found a wheelchair outside so we started playing with it, haha that´s what the picture is of.  But I think that was about it for this week.  Have a great week everyone, I love you all!

Elder Devin Harris
Keeping my skiing skills in check!  This may look like a fun playground but it´s actually a place for rigerous excercise for old people... It´s the funniest thing to watch when there´s a bunch of old people there!
My matress from the rainstorm last week haha

I have found what I am buying when I get home :)
 


 

Monday, November 24, 2014

It Rained!

So remember how I said last week that it hasn´t rained here in over 3 years?  Well we fasted on Sunday and on Tuesday it rained!  And by rained I mean poured!  We were walking and it was about 5 o´clock at night and my comp and I saw some clouds rolling in and he was lie “Vai Chover!”  (It´s Gonna rain!)  And so I sarcastically am like, “Vai chover muitos entao as ruas vai ser rios!” (It´s going to rain so much that the streets will be rivers)  I know you guys are impressed with my vast knowledge of the Portuguese language ;)  We started feeling some rain drops and we were freaking out and then it came.  It poured for over an hour and my comp and I were like running down the middle of the road while everyone was huddled under things trying to stay dry.  It was the first time my companion had seen rain in the 6 months he´s been on his mission.  It was so great!  And the streets actually were rivers!  Called it ;)  That´s what the spirit of revelation will do for you ;)  Haha!  So earlier that day we were walking to an investigators house on the other side of town when we saw this broken mirror on the side of the road and we don´t have a mirror in our house but we didn´t have time to get it so we kept going.  Then later on that night during the rainstorm we had nothing else to do so I´m like “Nós devemos pegar o espelho!”  (We should go get the mirror!)  So we´re like let´s do it so we walked about a half hour in the rain and got the mirror and that´s when it hit me...  We forgot to shut the windows in our apartment....  We were still like a half hour walk from our house and it had already been raining for about an hour so we took off for home.  It was so funny because there we were, these two missionaries carrying pieces of a broken mirror through the pouring rain and having the time of our lives.  We got home and found that our house was pretty much flooded haha.  My bed, which is right next to the window, got soaked!  It´s still drying right now.  We got everything cleaned up and by that time it was time for bed.  haha my comp was kind enough to let me borrow his mattress because his didn´t get that wet because his isn´t next to the window and he slept on the box of his bed.  He´s a good guy.  But I can´t complain too much because the Lord answered our prayers!  It´s funny how when you turn to the Lord, he´s actually there to help.  I´ve been thinking lately and I remember when I submitted my mission papers, I said to myself,  The only two things I want in my mission is I don´t want to go anywhere too cold and I don´t want to be stuck in the city my whole mission.  And here I am in the wide open fields of Brazil complaining about the heat.  I´m really glad we have a Heavenly Father who is patient because that´s how we all are sometimes, No matter how much He does for us we can always find something to complain about.  So I´ve been trying to focus on the blessings I have been given rather than the bad.  Just a random thought for you guys out there... And as for all the walking, don´t worry because we entered a drawing for a motor cycle so when we win that we´ll be set ;) 

So earlier this week we were teaching U.  He´s the one that I talked about last week that was having car troubles and doesn´t really believe in God.  So we were teaching him and he´s really receptive to what we have to say there´s just something holding him back you can tell.  And he talks so fast and it´s so hard to understand him so I just bore my testimony and told him about all I left back home to come to a random place where I have no idea how to speak the language all because I know it´s true and the next thing I know he starts to cry and you could tell that the spirit was there with him.  It was awesome but he has a girlfriend who doesn´t want anything to do with the Mormons because she´s Catholic and every time we show up he says to his girlfriend, “Hey come sit in here and listen to the word of God with me.“  And then she storms out because she doesn´t want to hear anything so I think that could be one of the things holding him back which is so frustrating!  We couldn´t get him to come to church with us yesterday either but you can tell that he´s not really atheist he just has had some trials in his life with his wife passing away and he´s just lost.  You can tell that he wants to believe so we´re gonna try really hard with him these next few weeks.  

I´ve started reading O Livro de Mórmon outloud because I´m to the point where I can understand just about everything besides a few words here and there but it has helped with my language so much!  It´s crazy to see the improvement just since I´ve started reading.  Haha, the other night my comp and I were walking down the street when all of a sudden we hear this super loud music and a bunch of people coming towards us.  It was this Catholic parade thing and it seemed like the whole town was with them and then here are me and my companion walking against the flow of people with our Livro de Mórmons in hand.  All the people were looking at us weird and I felt kind of awkward but at the same time I felt blessed because we were the only two that knew the whole truth of the gospel haha.  I´m definitely starting to see my purpose out here more and more each day.  I love you all, Have a wonderful week, you guys are all in my prayers.

Elder Harris

P.S.  I laughed so hard when I saw Colton´s picture of him in the rain with like the exact same picture haha.

They now have a mirror...and a flooded apartment!
Gotta love chicken feet!

These boys may be thousands of miles apart geographically, but they are incredibly close at heart!
Colton enjoying the rain in Jamaica!
Devin enjoying the rain in Brazil!



Monday, November 17, 2014

Two months...it's gone by super fast and super slow!

Well I´m writing to you guys on the two month mark of my mission.  It has seemed to go by super fast and super slow at the same time.  So this week was pretty good.  We lost electricity in our apartment for a day because no one paid the bills haha so we had to go pay some people and call some people and they got it taken care of.  But for that one day it was tough... I even had to take a... wait for it.... Cold shower!  Man, the kind of problems you face being out here!  The struggle is real!  So I´ve never even told you guys about the water here.  So the water straight out of the tap is absolutely disgusting.  When we fill up the baptismal font you can´t see the bottom because it´s so green.  But the good thing about the water being so gross is that even the locals would probably die if they drank it so everyone has the mineral water dispenser things like they used to have in class rooms back in the day in the elementary school.  So the odds of accidentally drinking bad water is pretty slim.

So this week we had a Zone Conference in Caicó which was pretty good.  It´s cool to see the American missionaries that have been out for a while talking in fluent Portguese, it brings hope haha.  So Currais Novos where I´m serving hasn´t received any rain in 4 years now.  It´s kind of ridiculous if you ask me.  Their reservoir has dried up completely.  So now rather than being a fun and enjoyable place for water activities it just serves as a short cut for me and my comp to walk out to the bairros through haha.  I feel like Moses walking through the Red Sea... except it´s kind of not as cool because there isn´t water all around or people chasing us.  But other than that it´s exactly the same right?  We had a mission wide fast for rain this yesterday so we´ll see what happens.  Haha so I feel compelled to tell you guys about one of the best things about my mission.  Every night we walk past this pretty ghetto food shack thing but they have these meat shishkabobs that are absolutely unreal.  They´re so good!  And they´re only $1 Real each so they´re way cheap.  They´re literally the best thing that has happened so far on the mission and quite possibly in my life.  Except for like baptizing people and bringing eternal salvation to them.  But the meat shishkabobs are definitely a close second! 

So me and my comp were walking and we saw a guy having car troubles on the side of the road so we offered to help and we tried push starting it like 5 times but it wouldn´t start so he popped the hood and started sucking on the tube that goes to the carburetor to try to get gas to it but didn´t realize that she should stop when the gas gets close to the end so he ended up with a mouth full of gas which then led to him throwing up..  So here me and my companion are nonchalantly watching this guy throwing up and acting like nothing is happening.  Then he finished and we all laughed about it.  We ended up pushing his car to his house.  And we´ve been teaching him a little bit.  His wife died and he doesn´t believe in God but believes that he´ll be able to see his wife again someday.  So we´ve been teaching him about the Plan of Salvation and hopefully we can get through to him.

So in our mission we try to do at least 20 contacts per day.  Which just means we find people and tell them who we are and invite them to church and whatnot.  So that gets kind of boring so we figure out new techniques to do it.  The people here absolutely love the English language.  They think it´s one of the most pure and beautiful languages there are.  It´s kind of like how when a British person talks to an American girl her heart just melts.  Well it´s kind of a similar effect when you speak English to a Brazilian girl even though they can´t understand you.  So to get people´s attention I´ll start out and go full on English and pretend like I can´t speak Portuguese at all and then the people will just like start to laugh and I progressively get better and better at Portuguese as the conversation goes on.  It´s hilarious.  It´s gets people´s attention more and they´re more friendly that way haha.  Then they all have taken their English classes in school so they´ll ask me what my name is and how old I am and then some other random phrase they´ve learned in English.  There´s nothing better than speaking a whole conversation with someone and not having to stop and ask what something means.  You walk away like... That´s what´s up!  And you feel like you´re the champion of the world.  That doesn´t happen very often though haha. 

So I found out that we had a ping pong set up in our apartment so I got everything out and we now have a ping pong table haha.  We didn´t have a ball at first but Elder Chagas has a roll on deodorant so we took the ball out of that and played with it until we bought real ones haha.   Don´t worry we still get work done haha.  I´m just keeping my skills in check so when I get home I can keep dominating Taggart, Trey, and Dad in ping pong.  I would say Kierstin but she never really had a chance against me ;)  JK haha I love you guys!  Especially you Kierstin ;)  Have a great week!  The Church is true!

Elder Devin Harris
Getting those arms ready for all those baptisms!

Ping Pong, baby!

Do I even need a caption?!

Currais Novos Lake...bed

On top of the world!
 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Walking, Blisters, and ummm...chafing;)

So this week was really good, lots and lots of walking though!  The first week I started to get blisters on the soles of my feet and the more I walked I was afraid that they would pop but instead they like pushed themselves up between my toes so they don´t really bother me as much.  I know that´s weird but oh well.  And I´ll tell you what, with all the walking and sweating, the chafing is real!  Sorry for the details but you asked for it mom ;)  Haha so to answer your questions, we don´t have buses here and as for why we don´t have bikes... I have asked myself that same question hundreds of times!  A/C is pretty much nonexistent here.  We have A/C in the chapel of the church building and some banks have it but other than that, nothing.  Currais Novos is pretty modernized.  Definitely a lot poorer than what we´re used to but the people here are amazing!  My companion is determined to learn English because he says it will open up so many job opportunities when he gets home to Sao Paulo.  So it helps a ton because we can kind of describe the language structure of both languages to each other.  All of our investigators are so nice!  We have one who´s name is S.  She´s like 35 and says she´s not necessarily interested in joining our church but she loves learning about other religions.  But she is the nicest lady!  The first visit she asked me what kind of food I like and I just figured she was making small talk because I can barely speak Portuguese so I said pizza because Brazilians understand that and I don´t know the names of a lot of other foods in Portuguese.  So the next time we came she had two pizzas made for us and sodas.  It´s just their culture here to be nice.  Hopefully we can help her feel the spirit and get her baptized.  Some people will be kinda rude but it´s not too bad.  So I have an experience to share.  We received a reference of a young girl that was interested in going to church because she has friends that go so we stopped by and it was clear that her mom didn´t agree with our religion.  She was trying to just prove us wrong throwing out really difficult questions that would be difficult to answer in English let alone Portuguese like about our Heavenly Mother and stuff like that so my companion was talking with her and I wasn´t sure of everything they were saying but you could tell that neither one of them wanted to budge and everything my comp would say, she would interrupt and there was just a lot of contention so I just chimed in and said,  “Look we are not professors and we don´t have every answer but we have been called of God to teach what we know is true and that the gospel is perfect no matter what and told her that if she wanted, we would love to come back and teach her but if not we wouldn´t.”  And I bore my testimony to her and everything just came out so naturally.  By the time I finished she was silent.  We thanked her and left and my companion looked at me and was like...  That was perfect Portuguese,  not even an accent or anything... And I was just like... Whoah, Haha it was so cool!  I have noticed a huge improvement in my Portuguese these past few days.  I can pray pretty much fluently.  I´m still trying to get the hang of normal conversations though.  Other than that we taught a lot of lessons out in the Bairros today, which is just the country/ farm part of town.  It sucks cuz it´s a long way to walk out there but I love it out there cuz we get out of the city and it´s just nice, even though it´s super hot.  It´s just that the sun here is so brutal!  If there are clouds and a breeze it´s definitely doable but if it´s a clear day with no wind, you might as well just crawl in a hole and die...  I´m starting to get a sexy missionary tan line goin on.  Just forearms with half of my neck and a solid wrist watch tan line ;) So I should have mentioned this before but there is a member named M. and she is really nice.  She feeds the missionaries almost every day!  Going to her house reminds me of going to Grandma and Grandpa Ebmeyer’s because everything is centered around food and they have the ridiculously huge pans and ovens and everything haha.  Anyways that was random but oh well.  Well that´s about it for this week.  Thanks for everything!  I love you all, have a great week!

Elder Devin Harris

P.S. So this is super random but people here think I am huge!  Like everyone I talk to the first thing they say is, “Wow you´re huge!”  (In Portuguese ;))  and then I tell them I´m only 18 and they all think I´m lying to them haha.  They think I´m like 25.  I weigh about 205ish now.  When I left the CTM I was about 210ish.  I guess all that walking is paying off ;)
 
View from the Natal Mission Home

We're having a corn shucking party!


And this gospel shall be preached to every nation, kindred, tongue, and species...

Where the heck are we?
 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Humbled by a 4 year-old!

Well the first week in the field is just about up and it´s safe to say that I´m as green as they come ;)  First off, I baptized two people yesterday!  It was such a cool experience. One 8 year old boy named J. and a 15 year old girl named D.  They technically weren´t our investigators, they were from the missionaries before us but I´m still counting it!  It was an awesome experience!  Everything is so different here!  I have no Idea what anyone is saying to me!  The food here is awesome though.  Always lots of meat and beans and rice haha.  Last night a member fed us fish and I actually ate it and it wasn´t too bad mom ;)  The apartment is pretty nice, I´ll send a picture of it next week.  The water here is cold but we have a heated shower head so you just flip a switch and it goes hot.  But I never flip it to hot because I´m hot here 24/7!  Well I take that back.  It cools off when the sun goes down.  I live for 5 o´clock here because that´s when the sun goes down and it cools off a little.  I lied when I said it wasn´t hot here.  It is so hot here!  I sweat so much it´s ridiculous!  Currais Novos is pretty decent sized but my favorite thing about it is that we get to get out of the city and it has farms and ranches here.  The only problem is we have to walk everywhere!  We walk so much!  I don´t ever want to hear the kids complaining about having to walk somewhere!  One of our investigators lives probably about as far as the stake center to the trash pile in Beaver.  I´m so envious of missionaries who even have pedal bikes!  My companion is good but it´s tough because I can´t genuinely talk to him yet.  Man I miss you guys so much!  It´s been pretty tough I´m not gonna lie.  It gets lonely not being able to talk to anyone or understand what anyone is saying!  I feel like the guy in The Best Two Years when he gets out to the field and starts talking to the people and he´s like, “That´s not the language they taught me in the MTC!” Because I´m pretty sure it´s a completely different language!  People talk so fast here with so much slang, it’s a miracle if I can even understand one word!  I can´t understand anyone here!  I´m just putting my faith in the gift of tongues and studying like crazy!  We went to a member´s house last night and they had three little girls who were pretty much Malia and Marissa to the tee!  They were adorable!  But I´ll tell you what, there´s not much more humbling than having a four year old make fun of you because you can´t speak Portuguese!  Haha the people here are all so nice.  
 I seriously laughed so hard at the picture of the kids in their Halloween costumes!  Taggart, that is so you!  I hope you had a great birthday bud!  I´m so jealous of your cold weather.  It´s so hot here,  Like so hot!  And it never rains here either... But that´s about it for this week.  I love you all!  Enjoy your cold weather!  Tchau Tchau!  Oh and I pet my first monkey this week :)
His district at the Brazil MTC

Cool reflection of the temple!

Kiko, the moneky

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

I made it!


Well everyone, today is my first official day in the field!  We flew in at about 9:45 yesterday morning to Natal and went straight to training which took forever...  My new companion and trainer is Elder Chagas from Sao Paulo.  He is way cool but it´s tough because he speaks absolutely no English and I only speak a little Portuguese.  He´s only 6 months into his mission so he is a super young trainer!  I forgot my camera but pictures will be coming on Monday!  I have so many of them!  Anyways so after training we went to the mission home...  I´m kind of at a loss for words for how awesome that was.  We got there and told the security guys who we were and he let us into the lobby of the building.  (I had no idea where we were because I slept the whole bus ride there)  And we go up the 15th floor of this building and their apartment is the nicest apartment I´ve ever seen!  Just imagine something really fancy and times that by 10... then we went out on the balcony and I realized we were right on the beach of Natal!  It was such a gorgeous view!  We ate so good there!  My favorite thing here is called Açai.  It´s like Brazilian Ice Cream and it’s so good!  After that we went back to the mission office and across the street is the most ghetto apartment you can imagine where all the elders stay when they´re waiting to be transferred.  So there were 20 elders in this tiny apartment and me and my two companions from the CTM are the only ones who aren´t fluent in the language yet so we´re just there like what is even going on right now??  This morning we hopped on a bus and rode it for 4 hours from Natal to my first area; Corrais Novos.  The ride was crazy. Talk about culture shock!  Sao Paulo was pretty Americanized. Here, no, not at all, it´s so different and now I´m completely immersed in Portuguese.  There´s no more going to the bathroom in the CTM  so all the Americans can speak English with each other without all of the instructors getting mad at us... (which we did all the time)  The bathroom was like our safe place.  But here.  No more.  One sister that was in my district in the CTM that flew out with us from Salt Lake is in my area.  She´s the one I found on instagram and talked to her a little before the mission.   So no more English for me :/  The weather here isn´t that bad actually.  It´s definitely warm and really humid so I sweat a lot but when didn´t I sweat a lot? haha  The sun goes down at like 5 here and the weather is perfect!  The thing I like most about here is that it’s a city but it´s also rural too...  It´s really deserty here.  Just imagine Apple Valley with palm trees haha.  I think I´m gonna love it though.  Our apartment is pretty nice.  Not by American standards but by Brazilian standards it´s super nice!  And we have a good view from our apartment too!  I keep getting lucky with all these good views around here!  I can´t wait to send home pictures on Monday.  So everything you guys hear about the church in Brasil exploding and expanding like crazy is true.  The missionaries here average one to two baptisms a week per companionship!  And they teach about 10 solid investigators at a time.  Natal is the second highest in baptism numbers in Brasil.  They try to get about 300 baptisms a month here.  I know I´m new to the mission field and all but that seems like a lot!  Anyways I´ve got to go.  I´ll talk to you guys on Monday.

Love you all! Elder Devin Harris

Friday, October 24, 2014

Last week in the Brazil CTM


I'm sorry!   Barely have time to get through all of my emails before they kick us off the computers here!  Well so we get to go to the temple every morning on pday.  It's almost always Sao Paulo but sometimes we get to go to Campinas which is like an hour away depending on traffic.  Other than that we sit in the same class room day after day listening to people throwing all sorts of Portuguese at us slowly going insane!  I'm so excited to go out to the field on Tuesday!  I might be able to call you guys from the airport or something but if i do it will be at like 2 or sometime in the middle of the night for you guys.  We're now 5 hours apart now that daylight savings hit and the southern part of the world switches their clocks the other way than you guys.  Other than that, my companions and district are great and we are all having a blast here.  We have devotionals every Sunday and Tuesday night but other than that, there are pretty much no other details; just 6 weeks of the same stuff over and over again so I'm sorry but as soon as I get out to the field I'll start writing you better ones I promise! :)  Wyatt sent me some pictures of his monster deer but the facebook thing made me laugh so hard!  So thanks for sending it to me :) Send my love to everyone!  This week was a slow week anyways.  I miss you all and I'm so excited to get to the field! Taggart I haven't forgotten your birthday and hopefully when I get to the field I'll be able to send you home something but it will be a little late.  Have a great birthday!  I miss you guys!  It looked like your trip to St. George was fun!  I love you all!  Next week I'll be coming at you live from Natal!  I couldn't be more excited!  I'm excited to send home pictures finally too!  I love looking at all of your guys' pictures!  Tchau tchau for now!   I love you!  Have a great week!

 

                                                                                                             Elder Harris #2

Friday, October 17, 2014

One Month Down!

So everyone, today marks the exact one month mark for me here!  It's gone by so fast!  Also sorry for the short letter this week but I don't have a lot of time to write and not a whole lot happened this week anyways.  So we went to the Police station yesterday so I am an official Citizen of Brasil now!  We were there for 5 hours yesterday becuase one elder messed up his signature.  It was ridiculous.  But yeah oh well.  That's awesome to hear about the new horse!  Hopefully she'll be good for the kids.  I'm so jealous of your cool weather!  It's been about 85 here and super humid!  It's ridiculous and I'm not even to Natal yet!  Oh well.  Like the MTC president says, If you're going to a cold mission learn to love the cold, if you're going to a hot mission, learn to love the heat!  So I guess you could say I'm loving it ;)  On Tuesday we will officially be the top dogs here at the MTC because we'll have been here the longest. And then we leave to go to the field and we're back to being the clueless idiots who can't speak Portuguese ;)  Haha anyways that's about it.  Everything Is well good in Brazil!  I love you all!  Have a great week! 
                                                                                                                                      Elder Harris #2 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Another Week???

Ok so the problem that I'm having right now is that I have a ton to write this week but they are hardly giving us any time!  So I'll try to get everything I need in!  So this week was so eventful!  First I have to start off with the first big miracle I've experienced since I've been here.  So there is a sister in our district who for the first two weeks here was determined that she was going home.  She didn't have a testimony of this church and was just mad at God.  She came because that's what her parents expected of her.  She even had thoughts of leaving the church completely just two weeks before her mission.  But by the tender mercies of God she made it out here!  She is the one I gave my first blessing to.  She had made up her mind to go home right before conference but we convinced her to stay until at least after conference.  Well anyways, I'm skipping a ton of this story for the sake of time but to make a long story short.  We got her to pray about conference and she ended up feeling like every talk was specifically for her!  She told me that the big game changer for her was hearing the quote, "Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that there is a Christ"  She said that pretty much penetrated her soul.  That and a few other things changed her mind and she felt the love Heavenly Father has for her and she is now determined to be the best missionary there ever was!  So after that all she wrote me a note thanking me for everything I did for her by not giving up on her and she said that my blessing is the reason she didn't leave after the first week.  She said she wrote down almost every word of it and reads through it every night when things get tough.  I don't know, it was so much cooler than I probably made it sound on here but It was such a testimony builder for me!  Never give up on anyone because honestly I thought there was no way she was staying.  But by Heavenly Father, all things are made possible.  So we got to go proselyting for real on Wednesday!  That was so amazing!  Between me and my companions we placed 6 Books of Mormon on the streets.  They threw us on a bus and took us somewhere that we had no idea where we were!  We could pretty much hold decent conversations and say what we needed to say but some of the people spoke so fast!  It's still so hard to understand but the Gift of Tongues is real!  We just got two new Brazilian roomates two days ago.  That is gonna help a ton because everynight we try and talk to them.  Last night we had a hilarious conversation about why americans use "Like" and "Yeah" so much when they talk.  focus on it and you'll hear it too ;)  Last week when we went to the Sao Paulo temple we went super early so we got to go downstairs and do service inside of the temple like folding clothes and little stuff like that but it was so cool!  I don't know, I guess it's just not an experience you get every day.  So today we got to go to the Campinas temple instead of the Sau Paulo one.  You;ll have to google it or something but it is such a beautiful temple!  This session was in portuguese too.  I had headsets but I took them off to see how much I could get out of it and i surprised myself!  This has been such a cool experience already and it hasn't even been a month yet!  I'm still having the time of my life here!  All of the new Missionaries are so cool!  Anyways they're kicking me off now so I've got to go.  I love you all!!  The church is true!  I hope you are all doing well!
 
                                                                                                                                                    Elder Harris #2

Friday, October 3, 2014

2nd Week Down!

 
Alright so first and foremost. I'm sorry I didn't get to write you guys on Wednesday! They switched our Pday so it's on Fridays from now on. I was just imagining dad wonder why I was emailing all of my friends on Wednesday and not him ;) Haha jk jk. Anyways so this week went by really fast! We finally got new American Missionaries who don't know any Portuguese so I'm not the idiot anymore! Well.... I am but in different ways ;) So I don't think I told you guys this in my last letter but I was called to be our district leader.... which pretty much means I have more paper work and I get to check the mail everyday haha. hint hint... SEND ME MAIL!! Holy cow! I had no idea missionaries relied on mail so much! Like that's how we survive! I'm sorry to Colton that I didn't write him ever single week! Family I'm going to send a letter to you guys today right after this. We're going to go walk around town so I'll hit up the post office. They were saying there is a place just like Rodizio's pretty close to here with unlimited meat and they say it's so good! So we're gonna go try that out for 20 Rei which is like $8 US. So today when we were in The Sao Paulo temple, there is a way big and beautiful chandelier in the Celestial Room and all I could think about the whole time was "Wow, I bet Grandma Harris really wouldn't want to clean that" ;) Haha it's funny how the randomest things remind you of home haha. Talon, you're gonna love this place, The weather is so perfect here! It rains just about every day but only for like an hour or two then it clears up. But it doesn't smell good like the rain we have back at home! I was really disappointed about that but oh well. I don't have a ton of time to write today because they're gonna cut us short but I'm still doing well and the language is coming slowly but surely. I can hold decent conversations with most of the Brazillians as long as they talk really slow haha. I can't believe how close I am to my district already. Like it's going to suck when I have to leave them! They're all like my best friends! Luckily two elders and one sister are coming with me to Natal so that will be good to keep in touch with them. The other elders here are so cool too! Everyone here is just friendly and happy constantly. It's my kind of place! Haha I told you guys about how our room overlooks Sao Paulo yeah? So every Friday and Saturday night there's a club that blasts Brazilian music pretty close to here and you know I'm all over that! It bugs my companions but I'm all for it! The city does get kind of old sometimes. Enjoy the small town life! Don't take it for granted! Sometimes you just want to take a ride to the hills to not have horns honking and tires squeaking and engines revving constantly in the background but I'll get used to it. I love you guys! Have a great week!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Hoof Stew and Guarana

Well everyone, it was great to hear from you all!  I'm having such a good time here!  I love and miss all of you but knowing that I'm doing the Lord's work makes it worth it :)  So we just got back from the Sao Paulo temple.  We get to go every pday to either the Sao Paulo one or another one that's pretty close.  It was such a cool temple!  They even did it in English so that was nice!  The Portuguese is coming along slowly but surely.  I'd be lying if I said it wasn't the hardest thing I've ever done but as a wise man once told me "It's all good" - Brad Harris ;)  Haha love you dad ;)  I can hold a decent conversation with the Brazillian missionaries as long as they slow it down for me a ton!  It's frustrating but I have to remember that it's only the first week so I can't get too frustrated.  The food here is way good!  Lots of rice and beans though ;)  We have it for every meal for a side.  Yesterday for lunch was the first time I ate something a little weird.  They had a stew and it was really dark looking with chunks of meat and when I ladled it onto my rice there was a hoof.  Yes a hoof haha.  To be honest I didn't eat the hoof because I feel like that would be a little too crunchy but everything else in the stew wasn't bad ;)  The fruits here are spectacular!  especially the pineapple! It's so good!!  So I don't know if this going on facebook but if AJ Caldwell ends up reading this, they have all you can drink Guarana here for every meal!  It's so bomb!  Guarana is like some super good Brazillian soda that is spectacular!  So I don't know about the Provo MTC but everyone tells me that you have no free time at all.  Here is actually pretty chill.  You get a couple hours of free time every day but our district chooses to spend it studying the language anyways.  Our district is way cool!  We're all super close.  One of the sisters in our district was sick yesterday so she asked the Elders to give her a blessing and the Elders said they felt like I should do it.  It was so cool!  It was the first blessing I've ever given and I would say it went pretty good :)  Our room is on the top floor of the CTM, so the view is sweet!  It's technically on the 6th floor but they consider the first floor to be the ground floor and the second to be the first and so on so it's actually the 7th floor.  That's awesome except for the stairs!  Those got old real fast!  So I'm in a Companionship trio with Elder Albee and Elder Cragun.  Elder Albee is from Manti and he's pretty chill.  Elder Cragun is from Eden Utah.  Well they're kicking us off the computers now so I've got to go.  I love you all!  Keep me posted on what's going on at home!  I'm doing great here!  I'm having a blast! Love you all!
 
Elder Harris #4