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'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