Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy New Year!

Well I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas!! I know I did. It was so good to see everyone and to talk to you guys! Well this week we have been pretty busy, running errands :(  The sisters are coming out tomorrow and it has been a joke getting stuff ready for them.  Hopefully will have a place to stay tomorrow. The sisters are taking our car too :( BOOO!!! They haven't made up their mind to see if they want to get us bikes or if they want us to walk. Either way it is going to suck. The way they want to split the area there is no way for us to cover it on bikes or on foot.  From our house to one side of the area would bean over 1 hour bike ride one way going at a fast speed. So yeah it is going to be quite the transfer.  So the question that you asked mom about if sisters are still needy I will answer in a different email just in case there are any tender ears listening lol.
So Christmas was good out here! The Ritz Carlton was so amazing!! I loved it! There was so much food and I couldn't even pronounce 95% of the things cuz they were way to fancy.  I wish I would have been more outgoing and tried all of the crazy exotic food, but I stuck with the most normal that I could get for the most part. Man they did not spare anything at that restaurant.  It is a 5 star restaurant and now I know why it cost $150 for my lunch there.  We ended up getting our little mission vehicle valet parked ya know cuz that's how we roll in Cayman!! Only the best! The valet parkers were quite excited to park our cute little car.  Ha our car is the biggest chick car, it's a Toyata Yaris and has a 0-40 mph of like 8.9 minutes. But as dad always says, "a crappy ride is better than a good walk any day."  I am feeling that way knowing that today is the last day with that little beaut!!! 
So on Christmas in the morning we had a nice breakfast before the Ritz at the A.'s house. He is our branch mission leader and is really cool.  We also had a bbq that night at the R.'s house. On Christmas Eve we also had a BBQ at the Rh.'s house.  So the 26th of December is also a holiday in the Caribbean. It is called 'Boxing Day'. No one can tell the meaning of it, they just know that they don't have to work.  People have told us a couple different reasons for boxing day and some say it is really just to box up all the Christmas stuff and put it away.  Wow that is quite the holiday. Well not too much else has been going on.  It is crazy to think that I only have 6 more weeks out here!! I hope everyone has a happy new year!! Love ya guys!
Love Elder Harris

Monday, December 23, 2013

Open your doors and your hearts to Him, not just a crack but all the way!

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!!! Well this week was  good, as usual. This week was busy too, but with a lot of stuff other than teaching. People are either off island visiting family, have a lot of family on island, or are just way too busy with work.  It has been hard to get lessons but it will pick up next month. 

So earlier this week was pretty cool.  Our branch president’s wife told us about this Christmas Wish that a radio station was doing here.  She told us that we needed to email them about a family in our branch named the B’s.  We did that and told them the whole story surrounding the B. family.  Well R. and E. have 2 grown, unemployed daughters living with them.  Each daughter has 4 children that are also living with them ages 2 months to 21 years old.   All of them are unemployed, R. and E. cuz they are retired and also the 2 daughters.  Anyways they have their electricity cut off frequently, they run completely out of food quite often. The church helps them out a lot, but they were not going to have a good Christmas. R. and E. are just awesome tho, they try so hard to make their grandkids have the best life possible. They are solid in the gospel and converts of just a couple years. Both have health conditions that limit them.  I feel bad.  Well we emailed them, the next day we called Sister J. in the morning and had her put her phone on speaker phone up to the radio to see if they won, and they did! They called them on the radio, and while they were on the radio Santa showed up to their house with a Christmas tree, and lights, and many presents, and $500 to help with bills, and a new cell phone with a 1 month contract.  But it was so cool! We went over and they were all crying.  They literally have nothing, they are living in really bad conditions.  They have a lot of animals, like chickens and he saves the eggs that he gets and gives them to his neighbors who he says is less fortunate then he is. So generous.  He always is looking for ways to serve, he says if you do good, you get good.  I believe that is why they won.  They got nominated so many times that the radio station said they just had to choose them. IDK who else nominated them but they do have a very good impact on a lot of people even in the situation they are in.  

The Christmas devotional that was broadcast from Jamaica on Saturday was good. I know you guys watched it and it was probably freezing up like ours was but it was still good. That was from my chapel in Spanish Town by the way, almost 800 people were there live, plus it was broadcast to like 20 other areas in the mission so it was a good turn-out, and was a great missionary tool just like we hoped it would be :) A couple hundred nonmembers and less actives attended so that was perfect :)

We had our missionary Christmas fireside on Friday, that was good as well.

Saturday we had a Christmas choir concert here. I was in the chior so I'm kind of a big deal :) It was good as well.

Anyways have a Merry Christmas! Do those things to invite Christ into our lives.  I think about Mary and Joseph who went from inn to inn and they wouldn't open their doors to Him.  Sometimes we do that in our personal lives as well.  Make room for Him in our inn, he stands knocking on our hearts, don't pass Him up, let the Savior into our lives. Open our doors, open our hearts, not just a crack, but all the way, especially during this Christmas season. 

Love you all! See you on Wednesday!

Love Elder Colton Harris

Monday, December 16, 2013

Continue to center our lives on Christ!

Alright, well another week is in the books. Thank you so much everyone for the little note that you guys sent my mom, and then that she sent to me. I loved them! I am so greatful for all of you and for the great example and support you have been to me!! It really does mean a lot! There are so many people on both sides of the family and as I was looking at it I realized that even with there being so many people, that we haven't really ever had any big events, like bad things, if you think about it.  That isn't very common for families today, but I definatly know that we are being blessed as we continue to center our lives on Christ! Blessings like this are the promise of living the gospel.
This was a good week, but kind of a slow week.  People are getting really busy since it is the holiday season, and are either leaving the country to visit family or have family coming in so they are busy.  Either way it has been a little bit more difficult to see people, but we made it work.
So we are still working with N. and D., they don't seem as enthusiastic about the whole thing anymore, but hopefully we can continue to get them moving forward and fellowshipped good. 
Anyways, the Ap's just texted and told us to start looking at prices of bycicles, instead of cars. NNNOOOOO!! That would be terrible!   It would only be for a transfer for us, but even the sisters would have to have them when they make it a 4 sister area. Too bad, too bad.
So there wasn't much to say today. Nothing interesting is really going on, plus I'll talk to you in a couple days.  Love you guys!
Love Elder Colton Harris

Colton's Family and Friend Christmas Tree
Personal messages from each person are on the back of the ornaments!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Priesthood Works!

Sunny and 75 here!!! I'm so sorry to hear about all the minus 0 degree weather you guys are having.  Now I know why this is the busy season here Cayman, everyone wants to get away from that weather!
Anyways it has been another good week! I'll start off with the good news we received this week!! We got told that Elder Runyan and I will be staying in Cayman until the middle of February!! :) I am stoked, there was a possibility that we would go back to Jamaica the first of January but not anymore! They also told us to go apartment shopping and car shopping cuz 2 sisters are coming in 3 weeks.  In February when we leave 2 more sisters will come out here and it will be an all sister area! Sisters are taking over all the off island areas I am so glad I got to come out here lol! Anyways when that time rolls around I will have not seen another elder for 6 whole months since we are staying each others companions! That is crazy!
Anyways this week we had our branch Christmas party! It was really good! We had ham, turkey and roast beef! We get fed way too much here.  In Jamaica all I wanted was more food and here all I want is less food! Anyways it's a good problem to have I guess.
Well on Wednesday we had a pretty cool experience! This little kid in the branch, his name is T.  I think he is like 4 or 5, well he has been having some problems lately.  He has been losing his balance and IDK some other things were going on.  Anyways, some Dr.s here told his mom that his symptoms are the same as a brain tumor, so they set him up to get air ambulanced to Miami Children’s Hospital to get looked at better.  Well his mom called us and our branch president and asked if we could give him a blessing before they leave so we went and did that.  We got to the hospital and went to the pediatric ward and he was sitting on his sister’s lap and in a lot of pain.  He had been like drowsy for a day or two and never wanted to anything. He did say when we walk in "It's the mishomaries!!" But then he went right back to the way he was.  Well we talked to his mom and dad for a while and his mom said I have to warn ya that last time T. got a blessing he was down for days, right after it was over he started bouncing off the walls! We were like ah that's cool ya know.  Well before the blessing his sister passed him to his mom and he was in so much pain during that little transition, we gave the blessing, and immediately after President J. said amen he jumped down off his moms lap and started running around and playing with all the toys that were in the waiting room there.  He wanted all of us to play with him and everything.  His mom said that ever since that blessing that is the way he has been.  They still went on with the trip to Miami because of what the Cayman Dr.s said, but in Miami after all the tests some of the Dr.s and nurses said, “Are you sure he wasn't faking it?  Was he really having those symptoms?” They couldn't find anything at all wrong with him.  They did, I guess, say that there were 2 minor things though, but, who knows, I could have a dozen minor things wrong with me right now.  Anyways they sent him back and all is still good.  The priesthood works.
The branch primary program was also this week, it was good.  We had a lot of less active parents come to that so that was good.  We had Mission Leader Council this week as well which was really good, now the down side to that is that I have to get a lesson together for zone meeting on Wednesday.
Oh by the way mom, the mission is having a Christmas devotional thing on the 21st.  They are streaming it on the internet and told us to tell our parents in case they wanted to watch it. It should be pretty good.  All the branches in the mission will be watching it.  I gave them your email address and they will email a link to you on the morning of the devotional. It starts at noon your time and so you should get that email at about 10 or 11 if ya want to watch it.
Well we are still working with the same people I said last week and also a new one named D.! They are all really busy and hard to see but things are still going good! Love you guys! Happy anniversary Mom and Dad!!! I love you guys!!!! :)
Their humble Christmas the tie garland!

Hot tubbin'...missionary style!

Big Tree at Caymana Bay with Colton

Big Tree at Caymana Bay!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Importance of Going After the ONE!

Well this week was another pretty good week. I too can't believe it is December already! Time is going quick! Well we had a pretty good week this week.  The highlight was Thanksgiving, and Pres Brown and Elder Anderson (our area president) came and visited.
So on Wednesday Prez and Elder Anderson flew in.  They were on a mission tour so they visited all 21 branches in our mission.  We were the last one, so of course they followed the old saying by leaving the best for last! It was a really quick trip, they got here at about 4, we went and checked them into their hotel, came to the church and had a quick dinner, had a branch council training meeting, then a member fireside/ devotional. Those were really good, it definitely was good for the branch to hear that, hopefully we can keep the fire going under the member so that the missionary work can speed up here!! It is going pretty good, but it can go faster! So when those were over they split up, pres came with us to visit a less active member and Elder Anderson went and visited a less active couple with our branch president.  Both of those visits were really worth while! It really helped the branch and I the importance of going after the "1". Here you have a very busy mission president, and an area president who covers almost 500 wards/ branches, who if he visited one unit every week, it would take him over 8 years to see all the units in his area, they are only on island for 18 hours, and while they are here they wanted to each go and visit a less active.  They could have came up with plenty of other meeting to tell people how to go and visit people or something and we as members would just go back into our regular routine when they left, but instead they took the initiative to set the example for all of us.  Both members came back yesterday, and seemed to really enjoy it, now we are going to progress them to the temple!
Thanksgiving was also good! We stayed pretty busy, ate some good food, got splashed by a huge wave (btw the big wave came inside the car, i'll explain it later), talked to some R-LDS people which was very weird as well.  So the R-LDS people that we talked to were at Sister Bush's house when we went over there for dinner.  All of her in-laws, plus her husband are from that reorganized church, now the Community of Christ church.  It was so weird to talk to someone who believes the Book of Mormon is true, knows Joseph Smith is a prophet, yet they still aren't in the right church.  But we did get a return appointment with a couple of them cuz they don't believe in their church anymore. I guess when the name changed, a lot of their doctrines changed, and some of their prophets were basically forced to resign, so I guess that name change turned out quite nice for us! 
So I was talking about the big wave that came into our car.  So on Thursday, this big storm that Cayman gets only once a year was here. It is called the Nor' Western.  So usually the ocean is really calm and still just like a lake almost. So this storm brought in so huge waves!! They were crashing up on all the stores and restaurants on the ocean.  So we drove into the Burger King parking lot that is on 7 mile beach and we were there looking at them.  So the parking lot is on a retaining cement wall type thing right on the ocean. On a typical day the ocean would be about 20 feet down the wall, with barely any waves.  So we parked about 10 feet away from the side of the wall and were taking pictures and videos. We were there for a couple minutes and then right before we left we saw a big one coming in so we decided to watch it.  Well this last one was the dagger.  It hit the cement wall and splashed up 15 feet or so above the wall, and right over to out car totally coming right inside!!! We had the window on Elder Runyans side down to get good pictures, obviously not expecting it to be that big and it DRENCHED him!! It was so funny, we got it on video and we have pictures.  Anyways sometimes we aren't the brightest bulb in the knife drawer! 
Well the 3 main people we are working with right now are D. who is the husband of a member, N. who is also the Husband of a member, O. who we found through a member, and is also good friends with R., and G. who I think we will drop soon! Anyways I am glad that you guys had a good Thanksgiving, I am sad I missed it! Page looked so awesome! The helicopter ride over lake powell looked even better!! Those pictures you guys sent to me were beautiful! Have a good week! Love you guys!!
Love Elder Colton Harris