Monday, July 29, 2013

Four flat tires this week!

Wow another week is here and gone.  It was another good week.  It looks like you guys had a good week at home as well.  Thanks for the pictures that you sent out. I loved looking at them.  Well, dad, to answer your question real quick; as of right now there is no patriarch on the island.  There was a missionary couple out here that was here for 18 months that was the patriarch for Jamaica but they went home about 2 months ago.  Um, there really isn't anything they can do if they do not have one that I know about.  Unless they go on missions where there is a patriarch at the MTC as far as I know they can't get one.  I guess there actually should be some sort of plan that the church has set up but I don't know of it.  They did a big, big push for members to get that blessing before the patriarch left because now they don't know how long it will be until the island gets another one.
So I got 4 flat tires on my bike this week.  So sad, but it was still a good week.  I tried to change all of them on the side of the road but Jamaicans see us white people and as soon as we get our hands dirty they come and do it all for ya.  They just never do a good job and the patches don't seal 100% so air leaks out of them soon again.  But it is still nice of them. 
So as for how my week went, it went great.  So I don't remember if I told you this last week of not but our area got realigned.  Since we moved to a new area we re-did the area so that we take all the close areas around where we live and the other missionaries take the far areas since they have the truck.  We lost a lot of members in the realignment so it has forced us to continue working with less actives, which is the best thing ever.  Missionary work is so effective while working through less actives.  For every less active we reactivate we are just getting a lot of referrals.  Tracting is so ineffective and I am so glad that it is a mission goal to never ever go tracting.  I did it once when I was getting trained before it was a goal and I hated it.  When you find through less actives not only do re activate the less actives, but their friends or family members that you start teaching already have contact in some way with the church.  The less activess are there so it isn't as awkward as 2 random whites guys talking to ya.  They have a friend to ask questions or concerns in private.  It just is perfect.  That has been working really good for us, we have been finding some elect people that way.  In the bible dictionary under 'election' it talks about who the elect are.  Now you can take election in a couple different ways but a different elder brought this up and in the bible dictionary it says something to the effect that the elect are people who come in favorable contact with the church.  That favorable contact has to come to these elect people through less actives.  They were placed in that favorable contact, whether it be in the same house, friends, family, co-workers for a reason.  So I guess in short we have been finding some cool people to work with.  I love the bible dictionary though.  You can get lost for days in there, it's terrible.  But there are a ton of good things that I never realized till I got out here.
S. should be getting baptized this week if everything goes well with his interview.  He asked Pres. Brown to baptize him and he accepted so that will be a really neat experience.  The baptism is going to be a really early baptism apparently cuz Pres is flying out to Turks and Caicos Islands for a couple days that afternoon.  I am excited though! :)
So we were also supposed to have a baptism for this 18 year old girl named Sh. this Saturday as well.  She didn't show up to church yesterday so we asked her friend/ fellow shipper where she was and he said that she wanted to come really bad but her mom said that she would completely disown her if she gets baptized in this church.  She would be living on the streets so that was really sad.  We are still working with her.  We actually have an appointment with the mom tonight so we'll see how that goes.  J., her 17 year old fellow shipper, and his nonmember mom have been working with Sh’s mom so that is good. Hopefully her heart gets softened.  Well got to go. Love you all.  Have a good week. Sorry again, I'll write more about day to day activity next week. 
Love, Elder Harris

Notice the knot on his tie...kind of different!

Ice cream to celebrate Elder Harris' 5 month mark!  Look how hot and sweaty he looks even at night!

His new room

Monday, July 22, 2013

I love the cold showers!

Ah ah mi general. Wudehupon? Midehah ya know. Ah you good? Dehah. Ah blessings and respect.  So I don't really know what I just did but I decided that I need to be original in my letter introduction so I typed out a very typical Jamaican conversation.  That is what I hear all day lol.   Well this week has been good.  A lot has gone on.  Thank you for the emails this week everyone.  Well I hope that everyone has a good 24th of July, can't believe I am going to miss it. Have fun though.
Well the new house isn't too bad, it is cramped but it's doable.  I love the cold showers.  While you are in there you realize this is the coolest my body temperature will be until the next cold shower you take so then you just learn to love it.  So this weekend was District Conference for the Spanish Town District(same as Stake Conference).  It was really good.  There were so many people that showed up yesterday for the meeting. There were 768 people there, which is the largest number of LDS people gathered together on the Island ever except for when a General Authority is present.  So it goes to show that the work is moving on.  Pres Brown presided at the meeting and when he stood up and talked, he talked about the new missionaries that came in this past week.  He said that he didn't plan to tell us this but last week when he was interviewing them, he had a strong impression that this would be the group of missionaries that would be around when a stake is created in Jamaica.  He said, "Listen to me clearly now, that means there will be a stake in Jamaica within 2 years!"  Everyone was like wow that was a bold statement.  There is a lot of work to do but we can do it.  He then called all of the missionaries that were there so all of the missionaries serving in the Spain District, which was almost 50 missionaries, yes 50 in one so called 'Stake' and said, "Here is the army that the Lord has sent to accomplish this work.  They are ready, willing, and more than able to serve along side each and every one of you to build the Lord's kingdom  here."  It was cool.  Then he had all 50 of us missionaries sing Called to Serve and in the middle of the 2nd verse everyone stood up and started singing too.  It was a really cool and a really unique first district conference for my first one.
Well last week we had a really good week numbers wise.  We had 5 investigators at church and are starting to see the fruits of all of our hard work.  We have been working with  less actives a lot and we had 6 less actives (inactives really) back to church this week and are preparing all of them for callings.  We had an investigator die this week too. Guess she died in her sleep.  We have been teaching her only for about 10 days and she had a baptism date.  She has 4 really small kids and a husband.  They were living in an abandoned house with no roof and one mattress, dirt floors, cooked with coal, etc.  Definitely in a better place.  We also met someone who has a 1950 somethin Book of Mormon. That was really cool. He said it was his grandma's in England right now.  And he saw that I thought it was really cool and he was like, "Sell it to ya for $50 U.S."   Wasn't going to buy it but it was cool to look at.  He also said they sell mangos for $1 U.S. too and I said how often do you get that, I haven't seen U.S. money since I got here.  Yeah he stopped beggin for money after that.  Well our other investigators are doing good and a lot more went on this week but I don't have time for all of it. Sorry ;( Well I hope that you have a good week :) Love you! 
Elder Harris  
                                                                    Pork ala hair!
Colton and the macaroni man

Elders Harris and Mathewson celebrating Independence Day, July 4, 2013

Colton in front of his new house...wonder if the donkey is replacing his bike?!

Laundry Day

Monday, July 15, 2013

"Share the Gospel at all times and when necessary, use words."

Hey everyone how is it going? It was good to hear from all of you. I really loved reading your email this week. Thank you Devin, Treyson, Taggart, and Marissa! It sounds like you guys are having a really good summer! I'm glad to hear that everyone is doing well again.  Well this week has been a pretty good week.  Transfer calls came this week and I bet you are wondering where I will be serving for the next 6 weeks... well the answer is the same place!! :) Elder Mathewson and I will still be companions this next transfer and I'm stoked about it. I honestly did not really want to leave Spain at all. I love serving in this branch, there are some really awesome members here and I have grown to realize that this is probably the strongest branch in the mission.  I didn't believe it when I first got here but after hearing about all the other branches around the mission this is def the strongest! Spanish Town is a good place too. It has a little bit of everything you would expect in Jamaica. A little bit of bush (like countryish) and some city, some nice areas and some really ghetto areas. Dirt roads and paved roads.  Spain is a good place.
So I told you last week that we would be moving this week and we did.  We moved into a house in Inswood Village. Maybe you can check it out on Google Earth or something IDK. But it is a nice area. The people and neighbors seem really friendly.  The house was a definite downgrade though.  I am now taking cold showers, and there is no AC in this house.  It is hot all the time.  It is smaller too which is going to suck because come Wednesday it is going to be a 5 man house.  Elder Nelson will be getting a new ZL with him as well as he is going to be training a brand new missionary.  Crazy huh! Pres Brown through a curveball at the mission for his first transfer! Elder Faumui, the other ZL that I have been living with will be the new AP as well.  
So this week we got rained on a couple times.  There were some tropical storms that passed us, It was some super intense rain as well as the lightning was the biggest, loudest, closest, and most lightning I have ever heard in my life. It was fun though. On Thursday when it was raining a lot we were heading to a lesson and like all the roads were flooded and we got to this certain section in the road where it is always bad and it was just a complete river. We were like we can either take a little detour and go around a different way, or this is the closest we will ever get to swimming for the next year and a half and we can just ride up through it.  We decided to ride through it!! :) I wish I would have had a camera on me, the water was as deep as our tires, we just put it in the easiest gear that we could and then went for it for about 40 yards. It was a dirt road too so it was just muddy gross water but it was still fun.  We were already completely drenched so we didn't even notice a difference after we rode through it. Some people were watching us and laughing at us too.  
Well on Saturday we were riding in the neighborhood and we saw a couple vans of white people, I think I actually caught myself staring at them.  I even wanted to yell "WHITE MAN" and some other stuff that we get yelled at us everyday but I didn't. I resisted the temptation.  I think they were with some church doing something over here. They were total tourists though. It was funny, like only the 2nd time I've seen white people on my mission besides missionaries.
Yesterday we had another lesson on a couch inside the home of a less active, yet awesome family! It was the 2nd time for both of those, having a lesson inside of a home and sitting on a couch.  It felt a lot better than a cinder block or a 5 gallon bucket!  The family is the S. family though and they are preparing to go to the temple.  For the lesson last night we had it on missionary work.  We role played with them talking about the gospel to their friends. They absolutely loved it! They were so stoked last night I thought Sis S. was gonna go out right there and baptize 12 people! It was cool to see their enthusiasm.
S. is also doing well, he is such a boss!  He can't wait until Aug 3 which is his new baptism date that Pres Brown had to extend to him.
Wednesday was zone meeting and Pres Brown and his family came and introduced themselves to all the missionaries in the zone.  He also shared some stuff with us.  He shared about how we are in the last inning of the 6th seal, how the choicest spirits were saved until now to come to earth, that we have had 6,000 years in the premortal world to watch others and to see how we need to conduct ourselves. Now everyone is watching us, old prophets, other people in the Book of Mormon, seeing if we are going to step up to the plate and see if we are going to do what we have learned.  He said that you have known what you need to do, and some could use the excuse of the veil to say they don't remember, but really there is no excuse at all.  We know what we need to do, we have the White handbook, Preach My Gospel, prophets and apostles and now we need to get it done. He said it about a trillion times better than I did though! That is what he used to do though, he used to be a professional CES teaching and coordinator of the island.  The spirit was there, and it was one of the strongest I have ever felt it.  He taught some of the doctrine behind missionary work and why is is important and how this is an eternal work that we are doing.  If every LDS youth heard this lesson he gave there wouldn't be one who stayed home from a mission.  It was absolutely amazing and what I have said doesn't even give it an ounce of justice.
Well one more thing before I go, I listened to the talk called 'His Grace is Sufficient' by Brad Wilcox this past week.  Everyone needs to listen to that talk if you haven't already, and relisten to it if you have listened to it.  It is an amazing talk, it is one of my favorite talks ever. Listen to it and just be in complete awe at the things you learn and how simply it is put.
Well I got to go, uhm well to answer your question mom about how to help with missionary work. I would say take whatever you felt to do as you were watching the New Mission Presidents Seminar (Worldwide Leadership Conference).  As it said there are resources to tell us what to do but not how to do it.  There are a lot of ways to do missionary work.  The work in Utah is the same work but it is done differently because of the different circumstances.  "Share the Gospel at all times and when necessary, use words." Do what you feel needs to be done.  There are soon to be 100 thousand missionaries in the world and that's awesome! But there are 15 million members, that's a little bit better number.  If every member were to bring one person into the church each year, it would only take 10 years to make everyone in the world a member of the church.
Do your part, be a missionary at all times especially to less actives.  Well that's my 2 cents.
Love Elder Colton Harris
                   Apparently Elder Wilkerson schooled Elders Strickland and Harris in Monopoly.

Monday, July 8, 2013

So many miracles!

Hello everyone once again! Man can't believe that it is already Monday again! This week has flown by!! This week has been such a good week! There have just been so many miracles that have happened this week! I normally would say that I have just had some tender mercies, but there were just too many of them and they were just too bold and stood out too much to not be miracles. 
Well on Monday we had an awesome FHE with some recent converts, a family, and one of the ZL's investigators and one of our investigators.  We had Sister S. with us at that lesson and it was so good! All of the recent converts who are all teenagers bore such sincere powerful testimonies at the end of that lesson! It was such a testimony builder for me as well.  I think that I might have mentioned Sis. S. before, but if I haven’t, she is one of the most knowledgeable, personable, really in tune with the spirit women that I know.  She was baptized when she was a teenager and was only baptized about 15 years ago and she has just taken the gospel, understood it at an unprecedented level, and then applied it to her life and is now helping so many others when she can.  She is the one who named her two kids Zion and Kolob if you remember from one of my first emails I mentioned that lol.  So that was a really awesome night. 
So on Tuesday Pres. Brown interviewed S. for baptism and had to push it back until Aug 3.  S. took that so well and just totally understands the atonement really well to realize that it is a good thing to push his date back.  It was really good to see Pres. Brown.  It was the first time that I have seen him since he went to Utah and man he just has a spirit and an energy around him that is just so tangible! His wife does as well, she came back to our branch with her family yesterday and she is just as enthused to take their new calling on head first! While Pres. Brown was talking to S. that day, he told him to look for more people that we could teach that he knows.  So the next lesson we were planning having with him was on temples and Sister S. called us the night before that lesson and said that she met S. at institute and that she wants to come to his next lesson (Yeah, S. goes to institute every week and loves it, he says that he is pretty upset that it is only held once a week for 2 hours, he wishes it were held everyday for 2 hours!). Well we go and see him for that lesson and he has his girlfriend there and says we need to teach her. We are like that's awesome so we taught her with Sister S. there; it was so good that she was at that lesson.  His GF is super, super knowledgeable about the bible; she is employed by her current church as a secretary and was very closed-hearted to what we were saying for most of the lesson.  We did decide to have a lesson on temples still and man she had some tough questions and arguments and Sister S. just threw down on them in a bold, yet loving way.  That lesson would have been terrible if Sis. S. wasn't there and we would have lost an investigator probably. Well the next day we have another lesson with S.’s GF and Sis. S. as well.  At the beginning of the lesson we asked her what she thought about the previous lesson.  She said something very profound; she said that during the lesson she felt a peace that she hasn't felt in a very long time, since she was a child.  She said that she has missed that peace and it wasn't until that lesson that she felt it again.  She said that she thinks that (((So sorry, I got to add a little P.S. in this letter right now while it is on my mind, so Tyler Roberts just passed your house Grandma Harris and he took a pic of it and sent it to me, still looks the same, except the new tan fence on the side looks really, really good, I like it a lot. Ok I’ll get back to the story I didn't mean to ruin the spirit!)) so she said that she thinks that she only felt it when she was a child was because she hadn't had a chance to get infused with the world yet, and that reminded me of a scripture John 14:26-27 and I shared that with her saying that is the spirit and it testifies of truth etc.  That scripture also talks about the Lord sending peace, not as the world giveth. It worked perfect.  Later on in that same lesson, she told us of this dream that she had awhile ago, the dream she described was her totally in the temple, and it even goes into a little bit of detail. What I can say really quick is that she pictured herself in a long white dress standing at some sort of a doorway, and someone was there who wouldn't let her through. While she was telling us, Sis. S., Elder Mathewson, and I were just in awe and smiling at each other.  She's like what, you don't believe me?  And we were all like no, we believe you 100%! Sis S. told her to record her dream, like write down everything that she remembers because one day she is sure that she is going to get an understanding of it.
So also S. downloaded the Pearl of Great Price from the internet and started reading it, read all of it on like one day and understands it really well.  We haven’t even mentioned the Pearl of Great Price to him and he found and read it on his own. He thought it was so cool that it answered a lot of questions that he had like Was Adam baptized and what the skin Heavenly Father made for Adam represented, yeah he goes deep!!!!
So Friday morning during super planning I got a call from Pres Brown.  He asked how S. was I told him good and that we were teaching his GF, he's like oh well this wasn't what I was going to talk to you about but Elder Cornish is going to be here in August so lets set up a time right now that you and your comp, Elder Cornish and Pres. Brown could have a lesson with S. and his GF. I was like that will be amazing. The rest of the week I had to brag about the member present lesson that I set up! Well I guess I should say General Authority present lesson! Now I just have to pray that I don't get transferred from Spain!! I have grown to love this place and the people here and don't want to leave them! These transfer calls are going to be CRAZY! I think that I will be training from the sounds of it; I hope that I stay here!
So we are also moving this week. We just finalized on a house this morning and we will be moving in on Thursday. It is a definite downgrade, (I didn't know that was possible). I'll send you pics of it later.
Well I am glad to hear that everything is going well. I am going to look and see if my SD card is working, I don't need one sent to me. No post its, and I would like CD’s with music tho. Not Mo Tab tho, like anything but Mo Tab.  We already have a ton of that at our house! Anything else on that list that you sent me would be good, probably not the Costo bacon yet. Costco trail mix would be glorious though. Anything else as well, I trust ya.  
Well I am out of time.  So sorry I couldn’t go into more detail about my week, it was a good one. Love ya!
Elder Colton Harris 
                                                    Breakfast with his district last Monday.
                                   You can buy anything in Jamaica...even a UVSC sweatshirt!
                                          Donkey pulling a cart or a cart pulling a donkey?!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Hey guys how is everything going?  It was good to hear from all of you! Sounds like once again all of you guys are doing great! It has been another really good week out here! So I will just start off with happy birthday dad! Thank you for all that you do for me, I really am so grateful to have you as my dad!
Well I am not sure how I worded the baptism for S. in my last email but I meant it like he is going to be baptized this next Saturday, the 6th.  He is still doing really great though. We have had some awesome lessons with him; all of them are just awesome actually.

Well the transition to new mission president this week has been really smooth so far, although I am foreseeing a lot of changes coming in the very near future, this mish is going to get a lot more obedient which I guess a good thing.  President Brown got back late Friday night from a week and a half in Utah and I got a call from him Saturday morning wondering how S. was doing. President Brown loves S. and played a big role in fellowshipping and teaching him.  So I told him that we actually were planning on calling him soon about that cuz we have to have Pres. Brown interview him.  He was so stoked to hear that.  He wanted to come over on Monday (today) and do it but I told him that it was P-day and that it would probably be better to do it on at least Tuesday. Man, he is diving into this head first with just so much enthusiasm.  When he called Saturday morning all I was thinking was, we were going to call you but we thought we would let you get settled in first, I mean you have only been head honcho for like less than 12 hours and you've only been awake for 3 of those hours!  Ha!  But he will do really great things for Jamaica.  I am excited to be a part of it.

So in all of your emails and letters you say you wanted some pictures, so I just put my SD card into the computer and tried to open up the file with the pictures on it and when I double clicked the file, the file disappeared and I can't find it anywhere.  The pics are still on the card somewhere cuz when I put it back into the camera they show up, so any help mom would be great! So if I can't get it working I might just have to send it home in a small package so that mom can look at it and hopefully get it fixed or at least you guys will have the pictures. Sorry about that! :(

So the dirt bike ride that you guys went on looked really fun!! I miss those days! I loved seeing the mountains in the pictures that you sent me! The package that you sent me didn't taste like mints.

Well we got fed 4 times yesterday! We either get like no meals or 4 at once.  The first 3 were…you guessed it, chicken and rice and peas and the last one ended up being just dessert which we were so thankful for. We had bread pudding, peanut butter bars, and Blue Bunny fudge swirl ice cream! It was so good, and then they sent us home with a box of mac n cheese, some noodles, some tuna, and a box of milk. Yes, I said box of milk, remember how I said they don't have milk out here...well they do but it is in a box that you don't have to put in the fridge until you open it and they say it real cow’s milk. It tastes really, really bad but we're still thankful for it.

Well today I have been emailing in the clerk’s office at the church and it has AC and I don't want to leave! Got to anyways though! Uhm, mom, don't send peanut butter. That is another thing we eat a lot of is PB and J, so not that lol. And I would like a calendar with pictures. Well love you all, I will write better next week.  Today was rushed cuz we only have one computer here at the church and there are 2 of us. Love ya!

Elder Harris

President Hendricks's Farewell Picture with Colton's Zone