Saturday, May 30, 2015

This week was good...and bad...but mostly good!

Hey everyone!  So this week was good... and bad... but mostly good haha.  So last Sunday we were able to baptize J., the brother of I., and V., who is a friend of the Bishop´s kids here.  It was an awesome day.  So that was my sunday and from Monday to Thursday was just working our tails off getting everything ready for Elder Mazagardi to come.  We were hardly able to leave the office which is the worst!  But it was all good.  Yesterday was good, we had our conference with Elder Mazagardi who is a member of the 70.  So the funniest thing happened yesterday.  All of the missionaries were getting ready to take a big group picture when Elder Mazagardi walks in.  This was the first time I had ever seen this guy.  So anyways he starts talking to us and says that after the picture he wanted to shake every one of our hands and he wanted us to tell him our name and where we were from.  The direct quote from him was, "I want you all to tell us what city you are from and not just the country.  My wife and I know quite a few places, from big cities like New York to little tiny ones like Beaver." I heard that and was like WOOOOOO!!!!!  BEAVER!!!!  REPRESENT!!!!  Everybody that knows me well here busted up.  Everybody else was like Beaver?  Where the heck is Beaver??  I couldn´t contain myself haha.  Literally one of the funniest things that has happened since I´ve been here.  And that´s including all the funny drunk people haha.  But anyways the rest of the conference was good too ;)  It was awesome and I learned a ton.  After the conference we got everything cleaned up and came back to our area and left to work last night.  It´s kind of a bummer because we have had like no time to visit our investigators or less actives this week so I don´t think we´ll have a baptism tomorrow unless a miracle happens.  So this morning I made some bomb American pancakes for me and my comp with some homemade syrup because Brazilian people don´t know what´s good in life so they don´t have syrup.  I´m working on converting them to the truth but it´s pretty tough.  There´s a lot of them here haha.  Anyways, they were super good.  They have pancakes here but they aren´t pancakes.  They´re more like crepes except they put meat and stuff inside.  So this was the first time in my comp’s life he´s tried a real pancake and I can tell his mind was blown.  Man they blew my own mind, those were the first pancakes I´ve had in 8 months.  It´s funny the little things you miss that you never thought you would haha.  But that was about it for this week.  I hope you all have a great week, I love you all!  A igreja é verdadeira!!

Elder Harris

Pic  - The best pancakes you´ve ever eaten in your life.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

My week was...well, exhausting!

  Hey everyone!  I hope you guys had a great week this week!  My week was... well, exhausting!  So we had transfers this week which are always super crazy.  This was my first one alone in the office too so that made things a little more difficult but this week was definitely a week of learning.  I learned a ton this week.  Like a ton.  But anyways...  So on Monday I was sitting around all stressed out getting everything ready for the new missionaries to come and for the old missionaries to leave and I was like freaking out when my phone rang and I didn´t recognize the number.  But anyways I answered it and it was I.D. from Cidade do Sol.  I don´t know if you guys remember her but she was the lady whose house we always went to for family night on Monday nights back when I was in Cidade do Sol who made me that huge birthday cake.  Anyways I was wondering why she called and she said it was just because she missed me in the ward there.  Anyways we talked for a little bit and it was really good because I was super stressed and it was good to know that I actually made a difference in the lives of at least a few people here.  Haha so we decided to use that jerk seasoning that Colton sent me a while back so we made some tacos with the assistants and we made some guacamole.  The missionaries threw the avocados in the blender.  What are they thinking??  I was just imagining Uncle Brent carefully mashing the avocados with a knife slice by slice haha.  I was like man if only he were here he would kill you guys haha.  But anyways it turned out pretty good. 
            So on Tuesday, all of the new missionaries got here.  Me and Elder Durê got to go to the airport again to get two new Americans who were fresh outta the states.  Man they were so lost.  Pssh Americans these days ;)  We took the new missionaries to do some street contacting to show them how to do it and it was so cool to see the excitement of the new missionaries!  It´s kind of a morale booster for everyone haha.  That night we also got to go to the president’s house for dinner which was great as usual.  That´s for sure the best part about being secretary haha.  So on Wednesday I had to take the two American missionaries to the police station to register them here in Brasil which I was super stressed about too because if something goes wrong there someone´s getting arrested or deported haha.  But it all went good thankfully haha.  An American missionary who was going home that day also decided it was a good idea to forget his passport here in the office so I had to get two missionaries to take it to the airport which is about 45 minutes away and his flight was scheduled to leave a half hour from when I got the call but they got a good taxi driver and it all worked out haha. It was a crazy week.  We had like almost no time for actual missionary work which was a bummer but the Lord is there to help us.  We somehow managed to mark two baptisms for tomorrow.  J., the brother of I., and V., who is a friend of the bishop’s kids.  So it should be a good day tomorrow.  We had a fun activity with the ward this week and I totally destroyed a bunch of kids in a foot race haha.  I don´t play around with that kinda stuff ;)  It´s kinda like when I destroyed Taggart and Treyson in that Mario Kart tournament at Lawrence Welk.  You can´t mess around with these kids these days haha.  Jk actually I almost lost the foot race to a 13 year old.  This kid was like a pro soccer player already so it´s a miracle that I pulled off the win in the homestretch haha.
          But anyways, things are starting to calm down here but this next week is going to be pretty crazy too because we have Elder Mazagardi from the 70 coming this week that we have to get ready for.  Wish me luck.  If I survive these next two week I´ll be determined that I´m invincible haha.  I love you all!  Have a great week!  A Igreja é verdadeira!

Elder Harris

The first three pictures I took from the security cameras of the church/mission office of me destroying these kids with my unreal speed and agility

The other pic is my new zone

Saturday, May 16, 2015

A long day in the office is WAY more exhaustng than a long day of proselyting!

Well another week has come and gone.  It was so great to talk to the family in Utah and also a lot of the family in California!  I miss you guys!  It looked like you guys were all doing good... even without me there ;)  But anyways this week was super super super super super super SUPER SUPER SUPER slow.  President has been coming to the office everyday this week and we´ve been working like crazy trying to get everything in order for transfers this next week.  But I am excited for the transfers because it means I get to see all the little new American missionaries arrive totally lost.  I know that sounds mean but it´s kinda funny.  I was there at one point haha.  A long day in the office is WAY more exhausting than a long day of proselyting.  I have dedicated this pday to sleep.  And that is where I´ll be going after this.  Actually we´re gonna go to McDonalds first.  But then sleep.  Haha gotta have your priorities straight ;)  Oh I guess I never told you guys about pday last week.  We went to this place called Parque das Dunas.  It´s kinda like a nature reserve thing pretty close to the beach.  Nothing too exciting but it was pretty cool and really pretty.  It was just nice to get out of the city for a bit.  It´s not like in Beaver where you can just drive two minutes and your in the hills.  You´ve gotta work to find your peace here haha.  We took a bus to get there but we couldn´t remember which bus we had to take to get home so we walked.  It wasn´t my idea but I had to follow my companion.  It was almost 6 miles from there to our house.  I know.  I checked.  Online. (Please tell me some of you guys got that quote) It was so hot too!  Man I feel like I´m always complaining about the heat.  Maybe it´s all just a mental game and if I start complaining about the cold it will actually get cold.  I guess we´ll see haha.
           So anyways, on Wednesday we had a huge ward activity that the missionaries organized.  It went really well and we had a blast!  I´ll try to send some pictures but that was really about it for this week.  Sorry for the pretty short letter but that was literally about all that happened this week.  I love you all!  I hope you all have a great week!  A igreja é verdadeira!

Elder Harris

Parque das Dunas

Our district

Normal bird...

BAM!  It's a phone!

My Trunky Picture haha

Me at Parque das Dunas

Saturday, May 9, 2015

When we want what we have, we will already have what we want!

          Hey everyone!  I hope you guys are all doing well.  I´m sorry to hear about the passing of Grandpa Newman.  I hope everyone in the family is doing ok.  This is why the knowledge of the Plan of Salvation is so important and special for us.  It´s like in President Uchtdorf´s talk last october where he talked about how people a hundred years ago could have never imagined how big the universe is until technology was improved and their perspective was enlarged.  When you have a small perspective on things death seems like something really sad but with the knowledge we have of our Heavenly Father's plan for us we realize that death is just the passing from one stage to the next.  I can´t help but feel extremely happy and excited for Grandpa who has now moved on to the next stage and is now together with Grandma Newman again.  I´ll keep the family in my prayers.
            So this week was awesome!  I´ll start from the beginning.  So on Sunday we were walking down the street to go get our investigators to bring to church and we met this guy on the corner.  One minute sooner or one minute later we would have missed him.  Anyways we talk to this guy who´s name is N. and he asked where our church was.  Turns out he had been taught by some missionaries a while back but he moved and the missionaries changed so he kinda just lost contact.  So we ended up taking him to church and we talked to him a little more.  He had a desire to be baptized but he didn´t feel like he could because he didn´t know everything about the church but we had a good little lesson with him and he accepted baptism!  So we baptized him that very same day!  It was fast and testimony meeting and he stood up and bore such a good testimony about repentance because he used to drink and use drugs and all that stuff but he has left all of that to follow Jesus Christ.  It was so good!  So anyways, I had the opportunity to baptize him and when I lifted him out of the water he just started to cry and gave me the biggest hug.  It was definitely one of the most special experiences I´ve had on my mission so far.  I was also able to baptize one of the sister´s investigators that I helped teach a few times.  That was also really cool.  Anyways, We´ve been back to teach N. a few times and he is so strong!  We´ve been talking to his mom also and his sister who was baptized but stopped coming to church a long time ago.  I challenged his mom to baptism and she accepted and we´re working on getting his sister to come back to church.  It was a testimony strengthener to me that Heavenly Father will guide our steps.
             So we had a good leadership training this week where all the zone leaders get together for a training.  It´s kinda weird.  There are all of these old missionaries who have all sorts of experience and then there´s me.  And as secretary I´m supposed to give a training to them.  I felt a little out of place not gonna lie.  It´s like, what can I as a fairly new missionary say to all of these seasoned and experienced missionaries that will help them?  But anyways, I gave it and I think it went pretty well.  It was nothing too special but I survived haha.  Sister Soares, the president's wife, gave a good training.  One of the things that caught me that she said was instead of having what we want we need to want what we have.  That really stuck out to me.  Because when we want what we have we will already have what we want.  It just depends on how we look at things.
              This week I was also able to give a blessing of health to S., the sisters' investigator that I baptized on Sunday.  It´s always pretty nerve wracking to give a blessing in Portuguese but it went pretty good.  When we first got to his house he wouldn´t shake our hand because he didn´t want to get us sick but after the blessing he went around shaking everyone's hand so that was pretty cool. 
              Anyways, my trainer left this week so now it´s just me and Elder Durê in the office.  Things have been going pretty smoothly so far haha.  I´m just not looking forward to transfers cuz that´s when everything gets crazy!  But yeah, that was about it for this week.  It was a week full of miracles.  Big ones and small ones but it is true that God is STILL a God of miracles.  I love you all and I hope you guys have a great week.  A igreja é verdadeiro!

Elder Harris

Saturday, May 2, 2015

I'm so skinny these days!

This week was really good!  On Sunday we had the baptism of I., the kid we´ve been working with since I got here.  He was awesome.  It was funny, we had his baptism right after church on Sunday.  Here they have sacrament meeting last and for the closing hymn we sang Israel, Israel God Is Calling.  Haha I. thought it was really cool, he just smiled the whole time :)  It was a really cool introduction to his baptism haha.  But anyways, we´ve been working quite a bit lately in the office and on the streets.  My trainer is now giving me all the work to do because he says I will learn faster.  That is true but man it is a lot of work.  Yesterday I typed the information of 350 baptismal forms into the computer.  I was pretty much dead by the time we left to go work.  Our teaching pool is really, really small right now so we´ve been working on getting it bigger.  We´ve got about 15 investigators still but none of them are really progressing so we´re working on that.   This week was actually really slow, I won´t lie.  President took us and the assistants out for lunch on Wednesday which was way good.  This ward here is good and all but we´ve only had 6 lunch appointments since I´ve been here as opposed to every day in the other areas I have passed through.  Lunch is the big meal here so that´s usually when the members feed us.  We never have dinner appointments.  It´s tough trying to pay for all of the food and everything else we need.  I didn´t realize how much the lunch appointments help!  No wonder I´m so skinny these days!  Man I miss the days when I could just drive to Mcdonalds and order off the dollar menu and be happy haha.  Fast food restaurants here are so expensive!  It´s where all the fancy people eat haha.  Last night we went with the sisters to this shrimp restaurant which was so good!  I think I´ve finally gotten to the point where I can say I like shrimp!  It was seriously one of the best restaurants I´ve ever been too, plus it was pretty cheap too so all the better I guess.  That was about it for this week though.  It´s been pretty slow lately, but don´t worry things´ll start picking up and I´ll start sending all of the pictures of my baptisms haha.  But until then, Have a great week!  I love you all!  A Igreja é verdadeiro!

Elder Harris

Pic - Doin work in the office