Saturday, September 26, 2015

I love to see the excitement and determination of the new missionaries when they get here!

Hey everyone! So this week has been pretty hectic. We had transfers so as usual things were a little crazy in the office. But anyway, last Sunday was Elder Mehl's birthday so we had a little party with cake and cuscuz (a super popular food here) with some of the members here which was pretty fun. So this Tuesday all of the new missionaries got here and it was really fun as usual. I always love to see the excitement and determination of the new missionaries when they get here. It's always a good little boost for us. Anyways, we had a good zone meeting on Wednesday to get to know the new zone... This might come as a surprise to all of you but no, I wasn't transferred ;) Pres. told me that I'll be here for at least two more transfers. So I'm planning on being here until December or so. Anyways, this week has been pretty slow, teaching-wise. We weren't able to leave to see our investigators until Thursday this week because of the transfers. Also B. went out of town with his mom last week so he didn't go to church but tomorrow he will get the Holy Ghost. We weren't able to get in touch with S. this week, which is a bummer, because last week she said she couldn't go to church with us because her aunt doesn't know the church very well. She just hears the rumors and she wouldn't let S. come with us. So we wanted to go by and talk to them both but it didn't work out. But anyways, sorry for the extremely short letter this week, I'm running a little short on time. But I love you all! Have an awesome week! A igreja é verdadeira!

Elder Harris

Pics 1, 2 - Dinner at the Mission home
Pic 3 - A scorpion that we found in our shower a while back but I forgot to send a picture

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Peace Comes When We Realize Christ Really Did Restore His Gospel to the Earth Once More

So this week was a bit crazy but really good. First of all, we were able to baptize B. last Sunday! It was awesome! He was so excited and we even got his mom to come and she seemed to enjoy it. We have been following up with him a ton this week and he is so excited to receive the Holy Ghost tomorrow! He says prayers and asks Heavenly Father to make Sunday come quicker so that he can get the Holy Ghost haha. He's awesome. We have found a bunch of awesome people to work with this week.

We found one girl named S. who had a Mormon friend but she served a mission and lost contact with her. She has been to some family nights and activities with members but never to church. So we were teaching her about the restoration and about the peace that comes when we realize that Christ truly did restore his Gospel to the earth once more. And she said that she has always noticed that about the members...that even though there aren't a ton of members here they always seem to have a certain calmness or peacefulness about them, like a different perspective on life. So we explained and gave her a Book of Mormon to start reading. The only problem is that she is studying in college hardcore right now so it's really hard to find a good time to meet with her. So hopefully we'll be able to get her to church with us tomorrow.

We found another awesome investigator I. She showed up one day when we were teaching a lesson at R.'s house and we taught her a little bit and gave her a Book of Mormon. When we went back two days later she had read quite a few chapters of it. She says she doesn't know why but when she starts reading it she just doesn't want to put it down. We explained why and we are going to start working with her a ton. As for R.,... she got baptized.... into the Universal Church of God. I was so sad when I found out... There's not much else we can do. We've already explained everything to her but she doesn't want to listen so we had to drop her.

So the other day I was working with Elder Mehl and we went to the house of a guy who we had talked to a couple days ago on the street. We get there and he's not there but his grandma answers the door and she is crying hardcore. So I ask if there is anything we could do for her. I soon realized that she was insane. Elder Mehl, in his extremely limited knowledge of English, was trying to warn me by saying in an urgent but hushed tone... CRAZY!!!!! Haha I got the idea and went to leave and she grabbed my hand and wouldn't let go. She was a strong old lady. She started kissing my hand and smelling it, and yelling, “I need a blessing from the Lord!” This all went down through a window/top part that opens on her door. She all of a sudden started trying to pry the door open even without using the doorknob. The doors here aren't very sturdy so she succeeded and we took off out of there. I'm still not sure whether I should laugh about that experience or cry haha.

So, I bought Elder Moura's plane ticket and he took off for home this week. Hopefully his foot will heal up and he can get back out here. So now we're just in a trio. Elder Mehl, Durê, and I. Anyways, that's about it for this week. I love you all, thank you for everything! A igreja é verdadeira!

Elder Harris

Pic - A super hot pepper I ate at a members house the other day haha. (I almost sweat to death)

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Christ Never Taught Comfortable Doctrine

Hey everyone! So this week was good. So turns out that Labor Day is actually Brazil's Independence Day so they have some pretty cool celebrations. Nothing like the 4th of July in America though haha. On Monday the priesthood of the stake had a big activity where they had a bunch of games and a barbeque which was good. One of the games there was ping pong. It's been awhile since I've played but I haven't lost my killer skills. I pretty much whooped everybody. Except for one kid who had to have been at least half Asian to have the kind of ping pong skills that he had. It was pretty crazy. Haha so we found out this week that Elder Durê will be leaving the office to go back to the field here in a couple weeks. It's gonna be kinda weird without him haha. We've been companions for about 5 months now so when he finally leaves we'll have been together for a whole fourth of the mission. But it will be good. The new financial secretary/ my new companion got here on Tuesday. His name is Elder Mehl from Paraná, Brazil. It's a state in the south of Brazil. The same state that Elder Durê is from. Anyways, he's awesome, we get along super well. Plus he's an awesome teacher, obedient and hardworking, so it's gonna be a good couple of months with him. We still have Elder Moura with us with a broken foot so while Durê is training Elder Mehl there are 4 of us here in the office which makes it a lot easier to go out proselyte. Instead of having to arrange a member to go with us we can just leave an elder with Elder Moura and we can go work.

So this week I've been working everyday with Elder Mehl and it’s been awesome. B. is going to be baptized tomorrow! His mom and his Grandma will go to watch it. He was so excited! It's gonna be great. We did end up having to drop J. because she just wasn't progressing which was upsetting but you can only do so much.

I don't know if you guys remember R. from a while back but we have started teaching her again and she is way more accepting and is progressing much faster. The only problem is that she is really comfortable in her church so she doesn't want to leave. Ugh these people just don't seem to understand that the Gospel isn't about being comfortable. It's about progression. I think the only times that I have actually been "comfortable" in this past year that I've been serving were the times when I wasn't necessarily progressing or doing all that I should have been doing. I was listening to a talk from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland and he hit the nail on the head. He said that if people these days want any gods at all, they want them to be smooth gods that don't require much; god's that not only don't rock the boat but that don't even row it. Christ never taught comfortable doctrine. I just wish people could see that. It would make our job a lot easier but I guess it's all just part of being a missionary. I love it even when it's not easy, like yesterday. Yesterday we had one decent lesson and the rest of the time was spent talking to people and having them reject us. Then talking to more people, and having them reject us. Then talking to more people. Then... yep you guessed it... having them reject us. But like I said, it's all a part of being a missionary and I wouldn't trade it for anything. As long as we're doing our part the Lord will make up for the rest.

I hope you guys have an awesome week. Thank you guys for the support. I love you all! A igreja é verdadeira!!

Elder Harris

Here are a few more pics from last week and some of my companions, new and old.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Pedal forward!

Hey everyone! So this week was pretty hectic. We started off last Saturday playing soccer with the youth for Pday and I got a nice black eye. I went for a header and didn't realize another player was also going for a header so we banged heads pretty good haha. Anyways, this week we had the leadership council on Tuesday so we were super busy getting ready for that. I had to take three missionaries to the police station to renew their visas. Three Americans. Man it was a party haha. We went to this place called Wayne's Burger Star. They have like the most American burger that you can find here. Best part about it... there was not one grain of rice nor a bean on my plate haha. So anyways, we had our Leadership Counsel and it went really well. Then the next day we had a zone meeting which also was really good. We talked about how you can either pedal a bicycle forward or backward but when you pedal backward nothing happens. We can go through all the motions and pretend like we were pedaling but in all reality we aren´t accomplishing anything. Anyways, it was way more in depth and spiritual there haha.

As for proselyting, this week has been pretty difficult because we have Elder Moura with a broken foot with us so in order to leave we have to plan for either a member to leave with us or for Elder Moura to stay at a member’s house while we leave to work. We´re probably going to have to drop J. because she's got some old habits that she just isn't willing to break. Huge bummer but we´ve already spent a ton of time working with her and she just isn’t progressing. In fact, the only investigator we have that is progressing is B., the ten year old boy. He is still super excited about the church. I just wish we could get his mom and his grandma on board... Anyways, we´ll keep working with them.

So today we had yet another bomb Pday. Sister Soares came and picked us up bright and early today and took us to all sorts of places. Almost all of the cool tourist places are beaches so she took us there. We were able to go to a lot of places where we wouldn't normally be able to go if we were alone. We went to a place called Genipabu which is just north of Natal where they have big pretty sand dunes that go right down into the ocean so we hung out there and played on the dunes and we even got our feet a little wet in the water ;) They have camels there too so that´s freaking awesome. After that we went to the south of Natal where there is this museum thing with a bunch of rockets and airplanes and all that jazz. Then we went to some more dunes and hung out there and played some rugby. We definitely had a good time. It was a good bread from the office. Anyways, that's about it for this week. I love you all! Thank you guys for everything! A igreja é verdadeira!

Elder Harris

Pic 1 - Black eye
The rest - P-day