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  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 :)