Saturday, August 29, 2015

So much good food this week!

   Hey everyone! So this week was really good. On Tuesday I was able to leave to go teaching with President Morais which was awesome. I learned a ton from him. That same night Subway was having a buy one get one free deal so we took advantage of that. I ended up eating one and a half footlongs. Yep a full half yard of sandwich. It was so good.

So there was a sister missionary who served here and went home towards the beginning of my mission and she came back to visit with her aunt just barely. They were so nice! I had never met this sister when she was on her mission but she and her aunt were super great and treated everyone like their best friend. I'm not sure why or what we did to deserve it but they decided that they wanted to take us out to dinner, but not just any dinner. They wanted to take us to a restaurant called Sal e Brasa, one of the best restaurants in Natal. Like I said, I'm not sure why but I didn't ask questions so we accepted. We went there last night and I ate so much! It was really similar to Rodizios in American Fork in how they keep bringing meat around on a big skewer and cut it off right on to your plate. It was some of the best meat I've ever had. I even tried sushi for the first time and it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be haha. So the aunt is Chinese and she was so funny! She was like your stereotypical Asian tourist and she owned it too haha. Taking pictures of everything and running around checking everything out. She was hilarious, she even had a Chinese accent and everything, I couldn't help but laugh at every funny comment she made haha. Then my companion would sit there with a straight face because he didn't understand because she doesn't speak any Portuguese at all, just English so I was talking to her and talking to my companion back and forth and back and forth and ended up not being able to keep the two languages straight haha. The waiter guy came at the end of the meal to take the garlic bread from the table but I wanted to get my money's worth so I, without thinking, reached for it right as he went to take it away and was like "Wait a sec, let me get one more of those." The guy just looked at me like I was an idiot then I realized that I spoke in English and tried to correct myself but I panicked and the next sentence came out in both languages like every other word. It was weird, like I don't even know how I managed that. I haven't been able to do it since haha. My comp laughed and I just sat back eating my garlic bread completely confused about what had just happened haha. So, after that we said goodbye to the ex-missionary and her aunt and they took off for home. They were just some all-around good people.

So as for investigators, J. is doing a lot better than last week. She has started reading again but if we can't get her to church tomorrow I don't know what we'll do. B., the 10 year old kid is still doing well. His mom hasn't been helping at all, she doesn't want to listen to the lessons any more so when we teach them it's just B. and his grandma. But they are still doing really good. Other than that we've been working on finding a lot more new quality investigators. We've got quite a few investigators but not many that are progressing. So it's been kinda tough lately. But anyways, that's about it for this week. I love you all, I hope everything is still going well for you guys. Have a great week, A igreja é verdadeira!

Elder Harris

Saturday, August 22, 2015

"No matter what's not a good enough excuse not to read the Book of Mormon!"

Hey everyone! I hope everything is going well back home. Sounds like school has started up and summer is over haha. It´s so weird because it seems like time should be standing still haha. I blame the weather here haha. Literally since May of 2014 I have had nothing but summer. Which is really weird. The real summer here is just barely starting here. So it means it´s about to get hotter. Anyways, this week was awesome. Last Saturday we spent our pday playing soccer and volleyball and other little games with the kids from the ward which was a blast. Then the ward had a farewell party for R. who is going to serving a mission in Florida this month. It was all American and my patriotism was at a 10 haha.

Anyways, we have actually had some pretty crazy stuff happen this week. Let me just start out at the beginning. Monday the AP´s were here in the office so that night we went on splits and I went with Elder Z. Clark. A couple nights before that me and my comp had made a street contact with a girl who seemed to be not necessarily interested but we decided to go to her house anyways to try and teach her and her family. So we get there and we catch her right as she´s about to leave and she starts telling us this story about her brother-in-law who got shot three times, twice in the head and lived, and how she has been taking care of him. So naturally we were like, “Really? Two shots in the head and he lived?” And she was like, “Yeah you can go see him.” Before we had a chance to respond she called her brother out to take us in to meet this guy who had been shot three times, and then she was gone. So this kid nonchalantly took us back to see this guy. His name is M.. We talked with him for a bit and shared a little message with him. He has been having a tough time because the shots messed him up a little bit and he was really sad, so we tried to help him out as best we could and we´ll keep passing by to teach him and his family.

Haha so, J... this week hasn´t been the greatest for her. A bunch of people have been talking bad about the church and she has been listening. She hasn´t been reading the Book of Mormon or praying. She says it´s because she doesn´t have time... Ugh super frustrating. Man I hate Satan. For all of you people back home, read the Book of Mormon as often as possible! Sometimes it seems like we have a bunch of other things to do, or sometimes it may just be plain laziness. But I promise you that no matter what excuse you try to make, no matter how legitimate it may seem, it´s not a good enough excuse to not read. I was listening to a talk by Dieter F. Uchtdorf the other day which talked about if you are too busy to feel the spirit or to do the basics, maybe you need to slow down and reevaluate what matters most.

So, anyways, we got another temporary companion yesterday who will stay with us for about 2 weeks, which should be good. The only problem is that he has a hurt foot so he can´t walk a lot. Which means that in order for us to leave to work we have to find a member to either stay with him or leave with one of us. Last night I went teaching with a member, Irmão R., and it was awesome. We had a lesson with a ten year old kid, his mom, and his grandma who we´ve been teaching for about a week now, they came to church last Sunday and loved it. We started off our lesson by asking if they had read and prayed, and they said they hadn´t... bummer. So we read with them. We read a little part from 2 Nephi 31. When we were finished, we asked if they had any questions or comments and the boy was like, “I really like this book.” I know it sounds super simple but the way he said it, you could tell he meant it. It was really sincere and it instantly brought the spirit. So we left them with a prayer and that was about it for last night.

It was an awesome week. I hope you guys are have a great week! I hope you have an awesome birthday Kierstin! I´m a little worried for the citizens on the roads (and sidewalks) in Beaver haha ;) Good luck to all you guys starting up school! I love you all! A igreja é verdadeira!

Elder Harris

Pic 1 - The leadership council we had not too long ago.
Other pics - us last Pday
Last Pic- Showing my patriotism!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Had an Awesome Week!

Hey everyone! Sounds like you guys all had an awesome week! Which is good because we did too! So to start out, we had one of the best Pdays ever last Saturday! We got permission from president to go visit some cool things in natal like an old fort on the beach and the aquarium. Usually president doesn´t let missionaries do that but like I said, being secretary every once in a while has its perks haha. I guess he trusted us enough to go there. So we go to the fort which was super awesome then I wanted to walk across the big pretty bridge they have here and go to the Aquarium of Natal. So we did that and turns out it was a lot longer than I thought it was but it´s ok because it was a beautiful view the whole way. I´m gonna send quite a few pictures your way.

Sunday was good, the youth Sunday school teacher asked me to give a quick message in English to show the importance of understanding what is being taught. So I got up there and tried my darndest but even then some Portuguese words kept slippin out haha. It´s kinda funny, I´ve realized that I have two versions of English in my mind... my casual slangy side and my more professional, and proper side. The more appropriate side has been pretty much completely replaced by Portuguese because as a missionary that´s almost all I do. So I´m still able to joke around with other Americans no problem but when I have to speak more properly it´s so hard! I´m working on improving my more casual side of Portuguese but man it´s tough haha. Anyways, that was a random tangent that came out of nowhere haha.

Monday we got everything worked out to move houses finally! So Elder Durê, Elder do Carmo and I moved everything from one house, carried it all about a block and a half, and put it all in the new house. It took about 4 hours but we got it all worked out just in time for transfers. Transfers were this week so we have been a little busy but this one was a lot easier than others. Dad you asked if I was just about done here... President was here talking to me and my comp and asked us how long we have each been in the office... my comp responded six months, and president said well then here in the next transfer or the next you should be going back to the field. Then he asked me and I said 4 months... he simply gave a little laugh and said I´ve still got quite a bit more time haha. I think I´ll be here for 2 or 3 more transfers. But it´s all good, I´m just afraid of having to leave the AC! ;)

So we´ve been teaching our investigator, J., and her mom, A., a recent convert almost every day this week and have been seeing huge progress! A. has stopped coming to church because of some issues with other members but she didn´t stop reading the Book of Mormon and she told us the other day that she was reading and she kept getting feelings that she needed to go back to church. Also her daughter, J. has been reading as well and it´s amazing to see how much her view of the church has changed. You can literally see her face light up a little more every time we see her. It´s awesome to see the changes that can be brought through the Book of Mormon. It´s truly incredible. I´m 100% convinced that if a person is having meaningful daily study of the Book of Mormon, and have meaningful prayers, that person will never ever fall away from the church. Likewise somebody who doesn´t have a testimony, if they do what I mentioned, there is no way they won’t receive a testimony of its truthfulness. That´s my little piece of advice for you guys this week. I love you all! I hope you guys are enjoying your last few days until school starts up again. Have a great week! A igreja é verdadeira!

Elder Harris

The blue arrow shows President's house

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Selfie Rampage!

So I hope all of your guys´ week was as good as mine! On Saturday for Pday we played a little game of soccer with the young men... Man they put me to shame but it was still fun haha. Sunday was awesome. I was able to baptize a kid who was so excited! His name is J. and he´s such an awesome kid.  So anyways Monday, all of the Zone Leaders came for the Leadership council on Tuesday. Since our house still doesn´t have water we slept in the office which was kinda different but still fun. We had the leadership counsel this month at the mission home which was really cool. I´m getting better at giving my trainings and it´s getting easier and a little bit less intimidating.

So we´ve been working with an investigator a lot this week. Her name is J. She´s had quite a few doubts about the Book of Mormon and the church but we´ve been helping her and she has been really accepting. She is kind of afraid of the thought of change which is always tough for people. But we are going to keep helping her this week to progress.

So yesterday was awesome. We went teaching with a kid R. from the ward who is going to serve in Fort Lauderdale Florida in September. He´s awesome, it makes me kinda wish I would have gone out more with the missionaries when I was home. He´s already more experienced than half of the missionaries here... including me! haha. So the ward last night had a party for São João. Remember that holiday with all of the fires in the streets and the fireworks that happened in June? Yeah it was to celebrate that so it was a little late but it was still a blast! It was such a cool cultural party! Everyone was dancing and having a blast, I just wanted to jump in with everyone and start dancing but I had to stay by the snack bar eating the treats instead haha. I guess there´s no problem with that ;) The snacks were awesome ;) But they listen to a weird kind of music called Forró which I thought was super annoying when I got here but now I´m starting to warm up to it haha. I went on like a selfie rampage and took selfies with a bunch of the members here so I´ll send those. I love the members here so much! They´re all so great! But anyways, that just about sums it up for my week. I love you all! Have a great week! A igreja é verdadeira!

Elder Harris

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Ice bucket challenge...6 times in a row!

So this week was a good one. We´ve been looking for a new house to move into because the house we live in now is absolutely horrible. I don´t know if you guys remember but in the first email I sent from Natal I talked about this super ghetto apartment that we had to stay in the first night... Well super ghetto apartment is now where I live. It is something else haha. I´m tellin ya, this house has all sorts of problems. Like for example, every morning and night I have to clean the ceiling off of my floor... Yeah, the ceiling is starting to fall in various spots in the house. Luckily one of the spots is right over my bed. Haha anyways, we found another house and got the approval from president and the church people, we´re just waiting on the owners to do something then we should be good to move in. Hopefully it will be soon. Oh yeah our house just randomly decides to not have water every once in a while which is kind of obnoxious. This week the water went out so we´ve been 6 days without water. So in order to take a shower we have to come to the office with a pan and use the tiny bathrooms here. You fill up the pan in the sink and dump it on your head. Let me tell ya. The water is not warm either... Imagine the ice bucket challenge about 6 times in a row haha. That´s about how it is. But whatever works haha.

So this week we had a missionary stay with us, Elder Moss, who went home because of a fracture in his foot. He´s like Uncle Jared´s twin... it´s crazy haha. But anyways, he stayed with us Wednesday and Thursday. And because he was pretty much finished with his mission he ended just like any other missionary going home. With a lunch with president. And because president is cool, he decided to take pity on the secretaries and take us with him. We went to this restaurant called O Mangai... man it was good. It was by far the best Brazilian food I´ve ever eaten. You could just put as much food as you could fit onto this plate/giant saucer. Man it was good. President and Sister Soares have some pics, I´ll see if I can´t get them from them to send next week.

So we had a family night with some ward members on Wednesday and it was one of the most spiritual family nights I´ve ever had in my life. It was so good! We talked about the story with Christ asking Peter, "Dost thou lovest me? Then feed my sheep."   We talked about what that really means. It´s not enough just to say we love Christ. It´s about how we show it. Once again, I´m gonna request one of my favorite talks from Jeffrey R. Holland. "The First Great Commandment".  Just go watch it.

We had another family night too with another family. We got there just as they were finishing the movie Frozen haha. Haha I´ve still got all the songs memorized word for word haha ;) It´s not quite as good in Portuguese though. But anyways, that just about sums it up for me this week. I love you all! Have a great week! A igreja é verdadeira!

Elder Harris

Our new home...because who needs walls, right?