Monday, August 26, 2013

Moving away from "Home."

Wow thanks for those pictures, I loved seeing them!  I am glad to hear that you got the package, did you try playing the videos in the camcorder or are they completely lost?  I am also sorry that the stuff in the package was really random and not thought out well.  It is just stuff that I have bought walking down the streets and I rushed sending it because I did not want to carry it around to my new area.  Well speaking of new area, this week was transfer calls.  I am sad to say that I will be leaving Spanish Town :( I have grown to love this place.  I have gotten really close with a lot of people here.  This will always be my home. It is hard saying bye to some of the people.
Well this week was a good week. We have been finding like crazy!!!! And these people are all elect I swear! Not once have we tracted.  All have either come to us or came through members.  We had 10 non-members at church yesterday.  We only counted 7 of them our investigators because of reasons, and 6 of those are progressing!! :) It is so cool to see the work here and how it is progressing! Pres. Brown has told us that every companionship will baptize once a week, and I didn't have faith in that.  But now I definitely know that it is possible now! It is going to start happening really soon. We still have about 10 referrals that we are contacting this week.  These numbers will definitely go up next week! Well Sis Mc. is still doing really, really well. We also found some young girls to teach, N. and A., and a lot more who I don't have time to explain about.
Well today we are going to go into Kingston with the other missionaries in our house and go to Tracks and Records, a restaurant that Usaine Bolt owns, hence the name, lol for my last Pday in Jamaica for a while.  That will be pretty fun, if Pres okays it lol.

Well I guess that I forgot to tell you where my new area is. I will be serving in the Boulevard Kingston branch. I will be serving with Elder Whipple who just barely got done being trained. I will be there for about a week.  Then I will be back on American soil for about 2 hours for a layover on my way to my new area. My transfer call was to Grand Cayman Island! I was pretty stoked about that.  Not very many get to go what we call out here as "off island" or to leave Jamaica.  It is supposed to be very, very nice out there; very wealthy people and a super strong branch. Uncle Brock visited this branch like last month while he was there. All I know is that there is a Texas Road house, Dairy Queen, Tuchonoes (or something like it), so I will just be living like a king (or a missionary that is serving in the states, spoiled!;)  Nice house with carpet and 2 full time cars, one a brand new car.  We will be the only missionaries on the entire island.  The flights were messed up so that is why I will be serving in Kingston for a week.  But there is more.  Pres. Brown called me right after the AP's called. He said, “You got your call, right?” I said, “Yeah I did.”  He said cool so there is something else. He said we are changing the off island zone leader area.  It is going to be moved from Freeport Bahamas to Cayman, so you and Elder Runyon will be the new off island ZL's. Now that blew my mind! Honestly I did not expect that. He told me that I was the first to know and to not tell anyone for a couple hours.  The existing off island zl's didn't even know.  So this will be a cool experience.  We are also the so called district leaders at the same time because there are no districts off island.  We skype every week for district and zone meetings and I think we fly to Nassau Bahamas every other month for zone conference. It will be pretty cool I think.  I think this has to be one of the most spread out zones in the world.  It consists of Cayman, Turks & Caicos, Nassau Bahamas, and Freeport Bahamas. Well, have a good week, I love you all :) Love Elder Harris

This was from March when he first arrived in Jamaica...I hope he's acclimated a little more now!

His mission call stated that he'd be speaking English...hmmm?!

That's a large moth!

Keeping Beaver alive in Jamaica!

Adam and Brian hanging out in Jamaica with Colton.

Monday, August 19, 2013

First Law Obedience...Last Law Consecration

Well this is the last week of this transfer again, I can't believe it has already come. The transfers seem to be going by really quickly now.  I am thinking that I will be getting transferred from Spanish Town. I hope not cuz this is my home.  I honestly don't really want to leave but I guess we will see what happens. Well this week was another good week.  We were not able to do as much teaching this week as I would have liked to.  Tuesday it rained all day long, Wednesday was district meeting then we went to the doctors office for Elder Mathewson's knee which was a joke.  We were there for 6 hours. Thursday was weekly planning all morning. Friday we had a special meeting with Elder Cornish and Pres Brown. That was really good.  And Saturday we had a baptism that took up quite a bit of time.  

The meeting with Elder Cornish was pretty good. He talked to us about how to train new missionaries and about how even exact obedience will not qualify us for the work. He taught how obedience is the first law of heaven, and the first law of everything, but it isn't the last law. Consecration is. It isn't enough to be exactly obedient, we must do things that please Heavenly Father (John 8: 28-29). It is one thing for Devin to sit and complain about doing dishes on his night after dinner for 2 hours and having people nag him about it and he eventually goes back upstairs and gets the bare minimum done. Or you could be like me and right after dinner, I take all the dishes and get them done, wipe off the counters, mop the floor, put the food away, etc.  Both of them fulfilled the so called commandment, but the way in which it was fulfilled was the major difference and that was what stuck out to me in that meeting the most. We shouldn't have to be compelled in all things to do certain things.  We should do it because we love God and want to please and honor him.

The baptism was good on Saturday for S.  R. B. is our new branch mission leader and he is a solid member and so he has in some ways lightened our load as missionaries, and in other ways increased our load.  Both are good and are necessary for missionary work to go forward better here in Jamaica.  For way too long missionaries have had too many responsibilities that are supposed to belong to members and that has slowed the work down.  Now that is slowly starting to change and it is a good thing. Instead of missionaries standing in front of members in the work, we are now standing side by side.

Well Sis Mc. is our top investigator right now.  We have had some really good lessons with her. Working with her has just increased my testimony that the Lord is preparing people for the gospel, just not always preparing them in the way we expect.  This has been such a strength to her and her family, especially to her marriage.

Well have a good week. I love you all.

Love Elder Colton Harris
Elder Harris, S. and Elder Mathewson

Colton enjoying his Olive Garden breadsticks!  We love!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Religion in Jamaica

Hey everyone again.  This week has been a really awesome week!  We have been able to visit so many people and meet new people that we have started teaching, all by working through members.  We have another baptism coming up on Saturday.  Her name is S. and she is 18 years old.  She is basically deaf so teaching her these past couple weeks we have had to come up with new ideas that have been fun for us to do.  It is good for us tho to come up with new ideas to keep it fresh.  She is also the one who her mom kicked out when she was 18 and she has been staying with her uncle but her mom said that she would tell all the family that she has to disown her if she got baptized.  We talked to her about it and told her to have faith and she wanted to continue with being baptized.  Since then her dad that she hasn't had much contact with who lives in Cayman came back to Jamaica this week and he is 100% supportive of her and she is actually going to move to Cayman with him now at the beginning of next year, so things have worked out.  Sis Mc. is also progressing this week.  That has just brought so much joy into the whole family, especially for her kids.  She came to church yesterday and her son J. was giving a talk on the sacrament and it was so cool to just see the happiness that both of them had. 
Well I thought that I would also tell you a little bit of how Jamaicans view religion and the LDS church, etc since I don't think I have done that yet.  So every single person in Jamaica is religious.  Basically everyone here goes to church every Saturday or Sunday. I say Saturday because about 40% of church people go to sabbath day churches.  The others go to what they call Sunday churches.  This reminds me a ton of what the bible belt sounds like, if not worse than the bible belt just with friendlier people.  Church and State is not separated here and so they teach from the bible in schools here.  They have prayers in school, they have scripture mastery at school.  Every single person knows the bible inside and out, everyone whether they are living in zinc, whether they are rastas, poor,  rich, old, young, male, female, they are very, very familiar with the bible.  They also believe that as long as you go to church you're good, same God that we worship right? That is their mind set.  All different kinds of churches line every single street here.  SO MANY!!!!  There are quite a few Jehovah Witnesses here but everyone we talk to say I like you a lot better then the JW's.  People are really willing to let us come back and talk to them.  I honestly have only got told by like less than 5 people that they don't want us to come back to talk with them because "God can't too much."  They love when we offer to leave them with a word of prayer after or during lessons because "Can't too much prayer either ya ear?!" They are very, very religious people and I know nothing about the bible compared to them, but slowly getting there.  Well this week should be good too.  Elder Cornish will be here meeting with us again. 

The overnighted package with Olive Garden was amazing!!! I got the package on Friday, I was the envy of everyone who heard that I received Olive Garden.  Thank you mom and dad and Grandma and Grandpa E!  Everyone in my house loved it too :)

So IDK if you remember the story about A. that I sent home last month as a 2nd long email home, but this is Auther's house.  The last picture of the 4 people in order from left to right is J., (been baptized 1 year and is expecting his mission call this week), A.,  Bro L. (right after he was baptized was made branch president then went on a mission, did both of those while still on retention or in other words was a member for less than 1 year, and R.L. (Should receive his mission call this week also).  They went to fix his roof, he has been without a roof for a long long time.  He has 2 little pieces of zink he leaned over his bed that basically did nothing.  The new roof isn't even that great but a ton better than what he had.  The only things that A. eats is anything that he can find on the ground basically. A. walks to church every week, about 3 or 4 miles at least and is always there way before anyone else gets there.  Such great faith even though he literally has nothing at all.  These are the only pics I have this week, so sorry about that again. I wasn't at this service project I just had JD send me the pics.

Have a good week.

Love Elder Harris

Monday, August 5, 2013

Dominos, Chilitoes, Chinese, Pizza Hut, Pig Tail and Stewed Peas, and Chicken Foot Soup...Yum!

So thank you for the pictures this week, I am sorry once again but my sd card doesn't work and I don't have my cord for my camera with me.  I am just going to go buy a new sd card and send this one home soon.  So this week has been really good.  Monday was PDay so we splurged and went to Domino's Pizza, it was amazing! Monday I got a call from the office Elder saying that they were coming to pick me up on Tuesday morning and that I was going to be in Kingston for the whole day.  You don't know what that means when the office elders call us to go into Kingston for the day but I do and I'll let you know why in a couple weeks or maybe months what it means but I went and stood in lines in government buildings and police stations to sign papers and stuff all day long.  It was a long, long day but it was good.  Don't worry I didn't have to go do that because of anything bad, everything is perfect like I said I'll let ya know later :) So we were also with Elder and Sister Mortensen and they took us to Chilitoes, which is this Jamexican restaurant. It was so good, I got the jerk chicken mega burrito with nachos and it was so good!! It was good to eat something different, and they paid for it so that made it even better.  So that was my Tuesday, Elder Mathewson took the zone leaders train with him in our area that day.  Wednesday was a pretty good day, we had so many appointments fall through.  We had Pres. B., our branch president come with us to visit some less actives, that part was really productive. Then we ended that day with our Elders Quorum president coming to visit another less active with us, he walked about 3 maybe 4 miles to get to this lesson #dedicated! The lesson was good but the guy we met with, Bro G. is just really stubborn. We also ate at this Chinese restaurant that day but it definitely was not Panda!!!  Thursday we had Zone Conference, it was our first zone conference with Pres Brown and it was AMAZING!! I love that guy.  He is just the most lovable, knowledgeable, caring, stern, everything guy.  It was a sweet zone conference.  He talked about the plans to make the stake here in Jamaica, specifically Spanish Town.  He told us all the numbers needed and what we will focus on in order to accomplish this.  He told us about a call from Elder Anderson from the 12 that he received and Elder Anderson said we are applying for the stake in January and it will probably be organized in March.  He told us all of this and then tied it in really good saying do you see what I am seeing, about how we don't have to be disobedient, or to not go 100%. He said it million times better then I ever could but all I could think was crap I only have 19 months left and there is just way too much work that needs to be done.  I'm not going to be able to leave Pres. Brown in 19 months because there is just too much work to do! Had Pizza Hut on this day too.  I tell you about the food I had this week only cuz I ate really good at the beginning of the week, and that doesn't happen very often so I thought I would share it:) Friday we had super planning, then went out teaching.  We started teaching Sister Mc.,.  She is the mom of some recent convert teenagers and it is so cool that we are able to teach her.  She has listened in on a lot of lessons and already knows everything is true.  It will be so cool to bring her into the gospel, and will be a great blessing for that family.  She then fed us pig tail and stew peas so that was a bonus too. Saturday S. got baptized!!!!! :) It was so cool.  His GF was bringing him but then her car ran out of gas and we were in a hurry to get the baptism started because of Pres. Brown's flight to Turks, So Pres. Brown went and picked him up and brought him.  It was a really spiritual baptism and S. bore an amazing testimony!! It has been so cool to watch him grow and learn! I now know why Pres. Brown put every resource he had in helping S. in any way, cuz the only thing stopping a stake is worthy Melchizedek priesthood, and S. will help that so much.  After the baptism there was a funeral going on and they had the missionaries wheel the casket into the chapel, only in Jamaica, yeah I had to close the lid too. Good thing there were 17 full time missionaries at the baptism (Including Pres. and Sis. Brown) since they had no pall bearers or something like that. I then got my toe operated on after the baptism. I had an ingrown toenail removed just like I had removed up north a couple years ago.  He cut half of it off.  Now just letting it heal.  Had chicken foot soup Saturday night too.  It was pretty bad.  It honestly felt like I was eating cooked baby fingers.  That is the best way I could describe it.  Church was good on Sunday too.  So I know you wanted me to tell ya how my days are, IDK if that is what you had in mind but this week has been chaotic.  Well I love ya!! Have a good week! 

Love Elder Harris

PS thanks for the banner letter and for the other letter as well mom and Harris family! :)


                Chicken Foot Soup...Yum!
(Picture borrowed from another missionary's blog who is also serving in Jamaica)