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 A├žai.  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!