Monday, February 23, 2015

Sweating to death in the back of the moving van!

So we had another really good week this week!  The holiday Carnaval ended so we could finally do some work.  Carnaval is the most ridiculous holiday ever.  It doesn´t celebrate anything it´s just a holiday to party.  It lasted Sunday through Wednesday.  It was ridiculous trying to do contacting cuz everyone was drunk, listening to loud music, and having a good time.  It´s such a bad holiday that all the churches here including catholics and all them send their youth to a youth conference type thing to keep them from doing all the bad stuff that goes on.  Yeah no good, but it´s ok now cuz it´s over.  Sorry I´m emailing so late, we spent pretty much all day today in down town Natal shopping and exploring the city haha.
        So this week we helped some missionaries move houses which was a blast.  We had ten elders there so it went really fast.  There was a palm tree in the backyard so we had like all ten of us trying to climb it and figure out ways to get the coconuts haha.  We ended up getting like 15 coconuts so it was worth it ;)  We loaded up one house and headed to the other.  All the missionaries just jumped in the back of the moving truck which seemed like a good idea at first but turned out it wasn´t... at all.  It was so hot, I swear I almost died!  I´ve never sweat so much in my life!  It was ridiculous!  But it was still pretty fun. 
          So we baptized a guy named F. on Saturday.  It was really different because he is paralyzed from the legs down so we had to put him in a chair in the water with my companion holding him up while I baptized him.  Super difficult but definitely worth it.  He sacrifices a lot to go to church every Sunday.  Like I said hardly anyone here has cars so he has to find a ride or get a taxi every week.  There are a total of three members in our ward with cars.  So actually to get F. to the baptism was a pain!  None of the members could do it and we didn´t have credits on our phone to call for a taxi so we ended up just asking a couple random people on the street until one guy said yes.  Haha it was kinda weird but you gotta do what you gotta do I guess. 
         We were walking down the street Saturday night and some deaf and mute guy came up to my comp and I and was like making all sorts of hand signals and squeaking sounds at us and we had no Idea what he was saying.  We tried talking to him but he can´t hear so that didn´t work so we ended up just giving him a pamphlet and told him to go on the site and he hugged and kissed the pamphlet and took off.  I´m not really sure what to think of it haha.  But that was about it for this week.  I can´t believe Colton comes home this week!  That´s so crazy!  Then I´ll be left out here all alone!  I´m still convinced that I´m never going home and I´m gonna stay here and preach for the rest of my life haha.  It wouldn´t actually be too bad.  I love it here.  I mean it sucks and it´s a lot of walking but it´s incredible at the same time.  I think only a missionary can understand what it´s really like.  But anyways I love you all!  Have a great week this week!  A Igreja é verdadeiro!

 Elder Harris II

The new district

Check out the stadium behind me!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Emergency Transfer to Cidade do Sol

   So I´ve gotta be pretty quick on the email this week so I´ll try to keep everything short.  But this week was really good.  Pretty crazy though.  So on Wednesday I went teaching with the ward mission leader so it was just me and him while my other comps stayed in the house because of Elder Muñoz´s knee.  So as we were walking we saw this drunk guy coming down the street which is pretty normal especially right now because the huge holiday Carnaval is going on right now.  But yeah, so as he got closer he started yelling at me.  He was so mad, and was yelling because he thought I was German.  (Everybody and their dog here thinks I´m German)  He was still super upset about the World Cup when Germany destroyed Brasil.  But yeah he was telling me that I need to get out of their country and go back to Germany.  And he was like There´s gonna be another cup you just wait!!  Then I was like dude chill I´m American.  And then he yelled at me some more and told me I was lying.  Then he turned his hip to give the illusion that he had a gun (He obviously had watched Mall Cop before) Haha then he asked me if I wanted to meet his pistol.  It might sound kinda scary but I was trying to keep from laughing to be honest.  He was so drunk haha.  So we just kinda walked away while he was still yelling.  So that was that haha. ]

        So we baptized P. this week!  It was so awesome!  He was so happy and excited to be baptized!  It was an awesome baptism.  I guess all of them are awesome but this one was extra awesome.  But anyways, I got a call on Friday that said I was being transferred in an emergency transfer.  So I packed up and I am now in my third area Cidade do Sol.  It´s right next to my last area.  It´s only like a 45 minute walk.  I know, only. ;)  But yeah my new comp is Elder Gomez dos Santos.  If you look at the picture I sent of my zone he is the tall one standing right next to me.  There are three Americans in the house and him.  They´re all really chill.  We all get along great.  But really that was about it for this week.  Sorry for the pretty short email.  I love you all!  A Igreja é verdadeiro!

 Elder Harris II

Monday, February 9, 2015

"I'm getting too lazy to come up with good subjects."

     Well everyone, this was another super great week!  So on Tuesday we were doing some street contacting and we found this 15 year old boy named P.  He is so awesome and was so prepared to receive us and the gospel.  Usually we do street contacts and people aren´t really interested and that´s kinda how it was with P. too but for some reason we decided to go back to his house the next day.  I guess I´ll rewind, I had just prayed the night before that I could be an answer to someone's prayer.  Which is cool because I hadn´t prayed for that yet.  Anyways we went back and we started teaching on the restoration.  P. is one of those kids who is super intelligent and loves studying and to be honest is probably smarter than I am.  Which is cool because it´s really hard to find those kind of people here.  We got to the Joseph Smith part and it like hit him.  He was asking all sorts of questions and he was explaining how he felt exactly like Joseph Smith because he had been going to all sorts of churches and studying up on religion but he just couldn´t figure out which one was true.  At the end we asked him if he had any questions and he was like, just one... "Can I say the closing prayer?"  So we were like, "Heck yeah!"  And he gave one of the coolest prayers I´ve ever heard, he thanked Heavenly Father for sending the missionaries to show him the truth and how we were an answer to his prayers.  Definitely one of the coolest experiences I´ve had on the mission.  To make a long story short, he is already half way through Mosiah in the Book of Mormon and his baptism is this Friday.  The Lord hears and answers our prayers!
             In other news, one of the missionaries in our house, his sister lives in Provo, so she sent him a package of American snacks and what not so we had to show the Brazilians how to make smores haha.  We roasted the marshmallows over the stove and it was so bomb!  We were at a lunch with one of the members of the ward and there is a young woman from the ward who is living with her grandparents because her mom moved to Utah and married a guy there but the daughter can´t go yet because she hasn´t gotten her visa.  Anyways we skyped with her mom from Utah.  She hasn´t been there for very long so she can´t speak English very well yet and she says it´s really hard.  I was just like, I feel you homie.  So for all of you guys at home, if you happen to meet someone who can´t speak the language, be nice to them!  It´s one of the hardest things ever! 
              We had dinner at a member’s house and they gave us this stuff called tapioca, I´ve talked about it before.  It´s really good, they gave it to us with shrimp and coconut.  If you knew me before the mission, you knew that I hated shrimp or seafood in general but I´m eating it quite a bit and it´s not as bad now haha.  They also gave us avocado juice.  It was really weird because you went to drink it and it smelled like guacamole and then you taste it and realized that it was sweet.  It was really weird but actually not that bad haha.  Man it seems like all of my stories today were from meetings with ward members.  I´ll share one more I guess haha.  We were at lunch at a members house whose sister is hardcore Catholic.  We were eating all nice and friendly and then after lunch I shared the message and I just shared it on Christ because I figured I would share something that everyone would enjoy, even the Catholics... Boy was I wrong.  I shared verses from 2 Nephi 25 and 26 which is like all about Christ but apparently it was from the Livro de Mórmon which the lady didn´t like.  She started chewing us out about how nothing was true from that book and I was like, man I´m just tryin' to spread the love of Christ here!  She then proceeded to tell how we are all doomed because of the fall of Adam and we tried so hard to convince her that the Fall was a good thing but she just wouldn´t have it.  So we had to just leave.  It´s super sad to see how many people lack the truth but they are just too stubborn...  Freaking Laman and Lemuel....
          But we did have a baptism this Sunday.  A 37 year old man named N.  He is really great and we had like half the ward at his baptism so that was really awesome. This morning we had a big Zone activity here in Panatis.  The whole zone came and we played basketball, frisbee, and football!  Real football!  Well, kinda, it was with a nerf ball and it´s tough to play with Brazilians who have never touched a ball with their hands.  It's all about soccer here.  On the plus side, we did have some pretty good kickers on our team haha.  But that was about it for this week.  I love you all, A Igreja realmente é verdadeiro!
Elder Harris II
P.S.  Sorry for not sending pictures this week but the computer is being dumb.


Monday, February 2, 2015

This week was so good!

So this week was for sure one of the best weeks of the mission.  It was so good but anyways, I´ll save the super super good stuff for the end.  So we´ve been teaching two young men, Ke. and Kl.  They´re brothers and their cousin was baptized a few months ago so we have been teaching them.  They are so funny!  I bust up every time we´re over there.  They´re the kind of kids who just make the stupidest comments but in such a funny way haha.  We were teaching the word of wisdom and we were like the five things that we shouldn´t put into our bodies is drugs, alcohol, tobacco, coffee, and tea.  And Kl. was like well we probably shouldn´t eat nails either.  And he was so serious about it.  We couldn´t help but burst out laughing, and then we explained that that would fall under the "wisdom" category haha.  Idk, it´s just little comments like that.  So this Wednesday we had a fireside where President Soares was supposed to come and speak but he ended up forgetting.  So that left us with a chapel full of people with no speaker, so who do we turn to?  Yep, the missionaries haha.  They asked us all to give a short little talk/testimony.  So I got up and gave about a 5-7 minute talk on the importance of realizing the Lord in everything we do and always pray to him for help.  It went pretty well I think. 
         So we were at a house of an investigator who had a guitar so I picked it up and played Drifting and everyone thought it was super cool.  Now almost every house we go to my comps ask if they have a guitar for me to play for them.  It´s a little obnoxious but it does feel good to play again.  We found an investigator named P. when we were doing street contacting.  He´s super awesome.  We´ve had three lessons with him and he came to church and loved it, he´s already planning on being baptized in about a week or two.  During our second visit we were just talking to him and he said the first time he saw me he was pretty sure I was American because I`m tall and blonde.  Which is pretty normal because everyone thinks that.  But then he said when he heard me talk he wasn´t sure because he said my Portuguese was pretty much the same as a Brazilian, accent and all.  I was like, “Wow that´s cool, do you really think so?”  But in my mind I was like, “WOO! THAT`S WHAT`S UP!!  FINALLY MY HARDWORK IS PAYING OFF!!!!”  But I´m extremely humble and such so I kept that to myself ;)  Haha I think I get my humility from Taggart ;)  I can honestly say the language is still freaking hard.  I still don´t understand everything and it´s tough for me to speak but it´s good that other people seem to understand me.  I still have a lot of time left to improve my language throughout my mission so I´ve just gotta keep working hard with it.
          Alright now we´re getting to the good stuff.  We had 4 baptisms yesterday!  We baptized Ke. and Kl., and another investigator of ours, G., and a 15 year old girl, E..  It was a super good day.  We had 4 different people to baptize them all.  I baptized Kl., Elder Muñoz baptized G., Elder Shakespear (the other American elder) baptized E. and we got the cousin of Ke. and Kl. to baptize Ke.  It was awesome and all of their families came even though they aren´t members.  We´re going to try to start teaching them now.  That night I went with Elder Gibson and Elder Shakespear to help the sisters out in the next area over with a less active who wanted to talk to elders.  He was baptized about ten years ago but never really got over his addiction to cigarettes.  He knows it´s all true and he feels super guilty because he says he knows it´s true but he´s still sinning but he can´t help himself.  Addictions are super sad.  We´re going to try to keep helping him as much as possible but it´s pretty tough because he lives really far away and it´s not in our area.  I did take my first packs of cigarettes from someone so that was pretty neat. 
          Anyways, Sunday rolled around and we went to church and in sacrament meeting the bishop and 1st counselor asked me to help them with the confirmations of the new baptisms.  It was the first time I have ever confirmed anyone and I was super worried I would mess up the wording of it but I did it and it was really good.  It was testimony meeting and I had the feeling that I should get up to bear my testimony so I did.  It was good I teared up a bit because I´m a baby haha.  But it was good.  It was the first time I´ve teared up while bearing my testimony in Portuguese.  I guess it´s a good thing because I´m focusing more on the feelings rather than trying super hard to speak.  It´s getting a little more natural.  After Sacrament meeting we had two more baptisms.  Two young women who were baptized before but the church lost their baptismal records so they had to be rebaptized.  I´m not sure how the records work in heaven but I´m counting it for me haha.  I baptized one named S.  Her middle name is Caroline which is a pretty normal name here but they usually pronounce it Caroleeny.  So I was saying her name to baptize her and I said Caroleeny and one of the family members that was there yelled and was like "It´s CaroLINE!!!"  And I was like geez!  My bad, you choose now to have a normal sounding name?? Haha so I restarted right quick and got it right the second time haha. 
           So I just want to throw this in, a member shared this in his testimony yesterday and it really stuck out to me.  He said he was serving his mission and he was teaching a lesson and he asked for the investigator to bring him a cup of water so she did but then he said he wasn´t thirsty any more.  So she took the cup back.  Then he asked again, so she got another cup for him but he didn´t want it again so she took it back.  He did it two more times until finally he asked for a cup of water and the lady was like no, because you won´t drink it.  and then he compared it to how we ask the Lord all the time for blessings and he gives them to us but we don´t always want to receive them.  Why would the Lord keep bringing us blessings if we aren´t willing to receive them?  I don´t know, just a little something for you guys to chew on as you go about your week.  But anyways that about sums it up for this week, I love you guys!  Have a great day!  The church is true!

Elder Harris #2
Our district