Monday, June 30, 2014

Am I that Converted? and Happy 4th of July!

Hello once again! Another week of emailing is here already! We had a great week. St. came to church this week again so he is on date for the 19th of July! We called him this week to confirm an appointment and when we called him he was trying to explain the Book of Mormon to his boss. He was like, “I wish you were here to explain it to him cuz he wants to know about it. We were like well we can actually make that happen.” So we met his boss later that night and had a great lesson with him as well. We also had a cottage meeting at a less actives house that we have been working with and St. came to that as well. The less active taught the lesson and she taught it on the atonement. Afterwards for the activity we did karaoke, that was really fun!  

So funny story about Jamaica. So I told you last week that Jamaicans are way into the world cup and most of them root for Brazil. Well on Saturday morning we were having a missionary correlation meeting with our branch mission leader and it was during the Brazil game. Everyone here likes to be loud and they have their windows open all the time, but when Brazil scored, there was cheering and clapping and like the blow horn things going off all around us! The way they were cheering I thought I was in a stadium, yet I was in a neighborhood lol. It was just funny to be completely surrounded by cheering even though we were in a neighborhood.

Yesterday I went and did and did an interview for the office elders. Her name is P. C. Her birthday is on Tuesday, July 1 (like someone else’s bday I know!) She actually wanted to be baptized on her birthday so she will be baptized on Tuesday. She is way nice and way humble. The office elders got her as a referral from the S. Family. The S. Family are Bro W.’s family that he hadn't seen for many many years if you remember that email. They aren't really progressing right now but from them they were able to find Sis C. Some of the S.’s also agreed to come to Sis C.’s baptism so that's good. Sis C. lives in a house about 10 ft by 12 ft with one of her sons. It is made out of 2x4's and some old plywood for walls and some tin on the roof. Houses like that are very very typical. It amazes me of people’s faith. She isn't employed, but she goes to the hospital everyday and helps patients fill their prescriptions and stuff. No one has ever asked her to she just does it because that is the kind of person she is. She got $700 from someone a couple days ago and put $200 of it as tithing. $700 is about $7 US, but when she literally has 0 income and has no idea where even the next couple dollars are going to come from, $200 is a lot. I encouraged her to just pay the 10% in the future but she just is so giving, wants to help people less fortunate than her! She has had a heart attack and she still walks to church, and the church is a very good distance from her house, a good couple miles. Am I that converted??

Well that's about it.  Happy America day when it comes! Happy Birthday tomorrow Dad!! I love you and hope you have a great day! Thank you for all that you do!! Have a great week everyone! One Love.

Elder Colton Harris

Pic 1) Just waiting for a lesson to start
Pic 2) Akee and minced corned beef. I realized this week that ever since I got back from Cayman, I have had spaghetti at least 4 or 5 times a week for the past 4 1/2 months. Mac and cheese is a close 2nd on that list and I am getting tired of both of them so I am trying to expand my cheap, quick, and easy meals lol. Akee is the national fruit here, it's very poisonous if you cook it wrong I hear, good thing imma pro. Some guy keeps jumping the fence in our yard and stealing akee so our landlord picked all of them off and gave us some since she had way too much!
Pic 3) Happy 4th of July!!!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Representing Brazil and Liver!

So this week was a pretty typical week. I feel like I'm serving in Devin’s mission. All of Jamaica is decked out with Brazil flags and banners. Jamaicans take the world cup very seriously and most of them are rooting for Brazil to win! A lot of them are wearing bracelets and arm bands with Brazil on it as well. I had to join in the Brazil fest in order to Rep it for Devin, so I bought a flag as well. There is some Argentina stuff and some people are rooting for Germany, but overwhelmingly Brazil is Jamaica's favorite! So we had a great lesson with Sh. this week. We have been trying so hard to get her over this concern. We read the testimonies at the beginning of the Book of Mormon then the spirit took over from there. It was a powerful lesson that we had with her and it got her heart and mind stirring. At the end of the lesson I testified that the spirit was present and that we were all able to feel it. She then added her testimony that the spirit was there as well. I explained how the spirit could only be here touching our hearts if what was taught was true. If it wasn't true then it couldn't be here testifying to us. It was great. St. is our progressing investigator this week. We met him last week and have had some great lessons with him! He came to church yesterday as well. We also took a potential missionary out teaching with us this week. We went to an area called 3 miles and when we got there he like blacked out right on the side of the road. IDK what happened but there were a whole bunch of school kids and stuff that surrounded him, then i went and bought him some water. Then we sit him up. A lady from across the street comes over and told us to take him to the clinic. He literally blacked out in the clinic’s front yard so it was pretty convenient. Nothing was wrong with him maybe just dehydrated. We were in the furthest part of our area too, way far from both of our houses so we called the office elders to come and they came and picked us up and took him home. It was still a good day tho. Friday our Ward mission leader invited us over for dinner. He fed us liver. I ate it, but it wasn't my favorite. At first I just thought it was some sort of beef that was just cooked bad, but then they broke the news to us. We also got a new ward mission leader this week. It's a RM that just got off his mission. There were a lot of sustainings at church on Sunday so now we have more leaders than just a bishop! :) Well have a great week! Love you all!

Love Elder Harris

Pic 1) Reppin Brazil!
Pic2 ) Elder Jackson and I at Stake conference 2 weeks ago
Pic 3) Our liver dinner. Also had boiled green bananas, dumpling, boiled sweet potatoes, and some veggies. Ha there is a cut in the dumpling because I was in the middle of cutting it when they told me it was liver, so I stopped and took a picture mid slice! :)

Monday, June 16, 2014

It's not pizza cooking in the brick's me!

Dear everyone!

I hope all of your weeks were good! Mine was good out here! The only downside of our week was it was very, very, very hot this week! It has been so unbearable! It's gotten a lot hotter this past week then it has been in the past! There is nowhere to escape the heat in Jamaica either. We are literally always outside in Jamaica, even when we are indoors, we are still basically outside cuz all the windows are open. Ha...our house that we live in is made of cement, so we basically live in a brick oven, the only bad part is it's not pizza cooking in the brick oven.. it's me! Since we have cement walls, we lay on our bed and throw ice cubes at the wall so that they shatter and snow on us. It is the only way to cool off even a little bit, fans on high mode just blow the hot air around, so instead of a brick oven, we live in a convection oven when the fans are on lol. Anyways it's hot out here, but things are still going good.

Transfer calls were this week. I am staying another 6 weeks in Boulevard with Elder Jackson. It'll be a good 6 weeks. That will put me at 6 months of being in Kingston when I leave. Elder Jackson is doing great. He transitioned really well to Jamaica, I can't believe that he's been here for 3 months already. If anyone wants to lose weight quick, come join us on a bicycle in Jamaica. Elder Jackson lost over 40 pounds his first 8 weeks of being here!! He's still going down in lbs. as well. Wow lol.

So it was great to attend a WARD yesterday!! It's going to take some time for me to get used to saying stake, ward and bishop cuz I just barely got into my mind saying district, branch, and branch president. It was a cool experience. All we have is a bishop right now as a leader since everyone in the district was released last week by Elder Holland. He is still working on extending and re-extending callings to people, so next week there are going to be a lot of people being sustained! It's great to be in a stake but there is still a lot of work to do here. We have one stake but now we are going to start working on stake #2. I think there is kind of like an unwritten goal of trying to apply for the 2nd stake, the Mandeville stake, within a year from now, so hopefully that happens! :)

We still are teaching some people. S. is slowing down, she knows it is true and has received a spiritual witness, but there is one thing holding her back from acting. We are also working with M. C.. We taught him a couple months ago, but then he stopped meeting with us. We just stopped by his house last week and he thought that us stopping by was an answer to his prayers and we had him at an FHE last week at the D’s. He is doing well, others are doing good too.

So happy father’s day dad! I love you! And also my grandpas out there! Thank you for all that you do! I think that's about it for me.

Have a great week! One Love.

Elder Colton Harris

This is a link to an article on about the stake.
Kingston, Jamaica's 1st Stake conference in the church news
Pic 1) Playing some FIFA :)
Pic 2) My district (including zone leaders and assistants)

Monday, June 9, 2014

"This first stake in Jamaica is historic for the Church, not just for this country!"

Dear One and Dear All,

This week was awesome! Especially this weekend! The Spanish Town District is officially the Kingston Jamaica Stake! A lot of hard work and preparation paid off this weekend as Elder Holland organized it! Elder Holland was a boss this whole weekend! The Saturday evening session he had everyone laughing out loud for 45 mins. He was hilarious on Saturday! I honestly didn't know that he had it in him to be that funny! He also had his very serious moments as well!! He said, "We talk a lot about Hastening the Work, so what exactly does that mean?" The story he told was "The bishop, the Sunday school president, and the elders quorum president go over to an in-actives house one day. When they pulled up, Frank, who they were going to visit, was smoking a cigarette. He invites them into his house and puts out the cigarette in a cup of coffee. Frank says welcome to my home. They talk for a few minutes about whatever home teachers talk about.. weather.. sports.. basically anything except the gospel. Haha just kidding, you gotta get warmed up tho Elder Holland said :) Then after some awkward silence cuz Frank just met the bishop while smoking the bishop says, "Frank, we're here to call you to teach a sunday school class." Frank said, " But I smoke!" "Oh really Frank! That didn't need to be told us! A cigarette in your hand, smoke billowing around your face, and a pack of camels in your shirt pocket kind of indicates a smoker! The Lord has called you to do this."

Then Frank, who is Elder Hollands dad realized that it was Elder Hollands 10 year old class that they were calling him to teach. Elder Holland said that his father wouldn't have ever accepted that call for the bishop, the stake president, or even the prophet himself, but he would accept it for his child. Right then he said, " When do you need me to start? He took his pack of camels out of his shirt pocket and tossed them into the fireplace. He never touched another cigarette, beer, or coffee again. He said, "Don't ever give up on or forget about people like Frank! The Lord is preparing people like Frank all the time and is aware of them constantly whether we are or not. Because of that simple visit, numerous missionaries have come, countless temple marriages, etc. People like you have saved people like me! I would have had no future ahead of me whatsoever if it wasn't for those three men magnifying their calling and being concerned about the one. My father would have remained inactive so where would I be?! Frank smoked everyday of his life for the first 10 years of Elder Holland’s childhood. He said that his father always wore a white short sleeve shirt everyday. "I thought Van Huesen shirts came with a pack of Camels right in the pocket. Buy a shirt get a pack, buy a pack get a shirt.." Anyways, moral of the story, Don't call on the STP! (Same Ten People). But more important moral of the story, he said "this story is a home teaching story, it's a missionary story, it's a family history story cuz not one ounce of family history work was done on his father’s side up until that day. It's a temple story cuz his family was able to be sealed." Elder Holland said. "I don't care what you call Hastening the Work, I just care that it happens."

I didn't do it any justice at all ha I tried, you had to be there for sure!! Sorry.

On Sunday Elder Cornish said, "In a very real way, Satan's influence in Jamaica has been significantly reduced because of the creation of this stake and the additional priesthood keys that are now here." I thought that was a very awesome sentence. He talked about how a stake is a place of refuge from the world and a place of additional blessing, and if we want to be covered by its refuge and gain its blessings then we must follow the counsel of the stake president, whom the Lord sustains whether we do or not.

Elder Holland also talked about the significance of a stake that I'm not going to do justice so I won't try. He then explained how it is a modern day miracle how 2 foreigners (Himself and Elder Cornish) can come in, completely flip the district upside down, release everyone and put it back together as a stake in 24 hours and have every single person sustain the new people called and have it work perfectly is a miracle and also evidence of the divinity of the restored church. Any other organization, whether a business or university or whatever that may be to have people flip it around and change it up, "there would be fist fights and blood on the windows, peoples tires would be slashed.  By the way, Elder Cornish, can you go check our tires?!" I never thought of it that way but it's true.

So simply put, this weekend was great! I can't put it in words as you can obviously see from the previous paragraphs. I got to shake Elder Holland’s hand as well. It was great being taught by an apostle of the Lord. The work is going accelerate in Jamaica starting right now. 15 months ago I honestly never thought that I would ever serve in a ward or attend a stake conference while on my mission, and here it is! It's exciting. I'm honored to be part of it! The letter doesn't do it any justice! I tried to put details but it made it more confusing I think. Hopefully the letter makes sense! Just know that it was a very great weekend! Elder Holland said, "This first stake in Jamaica is historic for the Church, not just for this country!" Have a great week!

One Love.

Elder Colton Harris

Monday, June 2, 2014

A Lot of Hard Work

Dear Home,
Well we were able to have a pretty good week this week. We stayed busy teaching a lot of lessons this week! We area still working with S., she has read the Book of Mormon all the way through. It only took her like 2 months. She was also reading the gospel principles book, D&C, Bible all at the same time. She has started the Book of Mormon over already. She has only one concern that is holding her back. We are going to try and have a lesson with her this week and have her sister who is a member in Washington DC join us over Skype for it, I think she will be able to help us out.  We have been continuing to work with others as well, I don't think there are any crazy stories to tell about those investigators this week tho. Just same old same old with them. 
So we are able to go to the Saturday session of Stake conference this week!! Yes! It took some asking, and some persuading but we are allowed to go now! Only missionaries that are close to Spanish Town get to go tho, so I still feel bad for others who won't be able to be apart of the stake conference at all. Elder Holland and Elder Cornish will be getting here on Friday! There are so many people flying in for this weekend, a lot of past missionaries and a lot of members who have migrated to other countries are coming. There is not going to be nearly enough room for everyone between the two buildings, but at least we get to see Elder Holland live once. A lot of hard work, blood, sweat and tears from members and missionaries for literally decades to help Jamaica get to this point where it is at. The testimonies that were born yesterday were very spiritual, it is Jamaica's time to really be a stronghold to the gospel! The members here have really grown a lot in the previous months leading up to this. They have become so much more self reliant spiritually and the church will take off after this great additional blessing of becoming part of Zion. This is a great time to be in Jamaica.
There isn't much else to write about, this week was pretty typical. Weather is good, work is good, life is good. Have a great week! Enjoy summer! One Love!
Pic 1) Almost my whole district, 4 more missionaries and then that is my complete district.
Pic 2) Likkle piece of tief!!