Monday, July 28, 2014

Transferring to the Playpen!

Here is Monday once again! Comin at ya live from the beautiful tropical island of Jamaica! So this week was very eventful as I said it would be last week! I am getting transferred this week which means I will be leaving Kingston. It's bittersweet to leave but I am excited for the change of scenery. I will be getting out of the concrete area and heading to the 'bush' or 'country' as they say here in Jamaica. My companion is going to be Elder Davidson. I've never met him before but he has been out for 3 months so I will be mothering him. For those who don't know, to mother someone means to be their 2nd companion. Elder England, my MTC companion trained him (That makes Elder England his father BTW). There are big family trees that are made with missionary companionships. There are fathers and mothers and sons and grandparents, your birthplace is considered your first area, your last area is where they say you sounds weird and complicated but it's a mission thing I guess. I am going to be district leader out there too. My district will be a lot more manageable with only 8 missionaries now instead of 12 like I have had. Elder Stewart, the one I served with for a transfer here in Kingston is going to be my zone leader too, that means super epic productive trade-offs! :) Also transfers got changed from Wednesday this week to Friday because the new missionaries coming out don't have their visas yet, so I won't be heading out there until Friday. Elder Jackson is getting Elder Gordan, a Jamaican missionary that he is excited for. Elder Jackson BTW has lost 60 lbs. since being here. He lost 50 pounds his first 3 months so if anyone wants to lose some weight really quick come join me out here! I've also been noticing that in all of his prayers the past couple of days, even during class in church, he has been praying for "cooler temperatures and more clouds." I think poor little soul, this is only the beginning.

Tuesday we went to Hellshire beach near Portmore. I was asked to baptize K., Sis D’' grandson. One of her grandsons was telling you guys jokes when I was skyping you, well K. is the other one. We a took a quick trip to the ocean, it was beautiful. They call this area the turquoise water, I know why now!!! I have now been in the ocean in Cayman and Jamaica. 

On Wednesday we had zone meeting. That was pretty good. After that I went on a trade off with Elder Martin to the office on Wednesday and Thursday. Let me tell you.. I do not envy office elders at all, they just run everyone’s errands. Our mission just traded in and got a whole bunch of new mission vehicles so we spent a lot of time organizing all of the new paperwork and updated the computer and sending the information to the area office, etc. Kinda boring, but I was in the AC at the mission office, AC is a rare phenomenon here so I'll take it when I can get it. We also just spent a lot of time sitting in traffic in Kingston going to pick stuff up and drop stuff off at different places around town. We also had to go pick up President Brown’s vehicle from the shop and take it to his house. I got to drive it around Kingston for a couple hours following behind Elder Martin cuz we had to go to some appointments first. I felt pretty cool with the windows down and the sunroof open. I did a baptism interview for the office elders and for the Downtown elders while I was there. 

S. got baptized this week! Yes I realized that I spelled his name differently today, well that's because I have been spelling it wrong the past couple weeks and I just found that out. Elder Jackson baptized him. It was a good service. I hope the ward steps up and helps out with his retention.

So I am glad to hear that everyone had a good 24th of July week. I am glad to hear Devin had a good time at the temple too! Have a great week! One Love.

Elder Colton Harris
Oh by the way...and sorry to leave this until the end ;), but my new area is Maypen. I've been there twice before, just for a little bit of time each time. I am excited.  I've heard that it is the strongest branch in the Mandeville District. One year ago President Brown said to the then Maypen missionaries that in order for the Mandeville District to turn into a stake the Maypen branch has to split into 2. He challenged them to build real growth so that it can get split, I am pretty sure that everything he said last year is still in place. I am excited, but it is weird to think that there is about a 50% chance this could be my last area, wow that is weird to think about. Next week I'll be in the PlayPen!!! <---(nickname)

Pic1- Turquoise water!
Pic 2- Downtown/ New Kingston in the background
Pic 3-K. and I walking in. We had to go where there was seaweed because there were too many people at the nice area of the beach.
Pic 4 - Jerk Chicken on the D.'s roof


Monday, July 21, 2014

I am getting way easy to please when it comes to everything, especially food!

Hi. <-- I'm trying to start my letters differently and that is the most creative I can get right now that you guys can understand. I could have said, “Wah ya deh apon? Tings cris out here man.. but mi nah wanna boddah wit no twangin so mi jus gwaan chat di english.” Alright so another productive week. Not too much to report on other than we have a baptism coming up on Saturday! St. has already had his interview and is good to go. I'm way excited. My 2 baptisms here came my very first weekend in Boulevard and now my very last weekend in Boulevard, with a lot of very hard work in-between!

So I invited President Brown to come to my district meeting a few weeks ago and for the past 3 weeks he has told that he will be there for that week. Well the first two weeks he never showed up, so I had to stress about those two district meetings for nothing. He finally came this week and it was great, but I was thinking, "How many A-game district meetings does he think I can plan for and pull off in a row..?" So 3 weeks of stress is over now. Man I wish he could join every district meeting even tho I stress about it, his insights and the way he put things was powerful! I loved it! I had Elder Wilkerson start of with a 5 minute spiritual thought on prayer, 30 minutes later it got over, but the things President brought up and talked about during it made it feel like it was only a 5 min spiritual thought cuz the time flew. We had a little party afterwards with doughnuts and juice and then we had interviews with president. Interviews were just as good, at least my interview was. IDK about anyone elses.

Yesterday we had a dinner appointment.. I got to try another brand new thing. Stewed chicken gizzard. For 3/4 of the meal I thought it was liver, but I was wrong. It didn't taste too bad...but then again don't take my word for it cuz I am getting way easy to please when it comes to everything, especially food. We just poured it over rice and then nyamed (ate).

Well that's about it for the week. This next week is going to fly by for us out here! I'll report on everything that goes on this upcoming week cuz we are going to be busy. Tomorrow we are heading to Hellshire for a couple hours, you'll either have to find out where and what that is or wait until next week to find out. Have a good 24th of July week!

One Love.

Elder Colton Harris

Pic: Eatin’ a mango…that's all I got this week

Monday, July 14, 2014

Spicy Curried Goat!

What's up everyone! Hope things are going well!. So I am emailing from an internet cafe today. We normally email in the family history center at the church, but our church got robbed this past week. I thought that if any church building in world would not get robbed, it would be the church buildings in Jamaica.. I was wrong. The church buildings, well really every building including our house has grills on all the windows and doors here. They call them grills here, but it basically just means really thick metal caging, kinda like what I would picture in a prison, only in the church they have decorations and are painted. They somehow either cut their way or melted their way through the grills and stole some computers so the rest are now locked up a little bit tighter in storage.

St. is still doing really great! He came to church yesterday and is basically set to be baptized on the 26th! He should have his interview this week. I'm so glad that he stopped us on the streets a couple weeks ago! He is still introducing us to a lot of his friends. We are working with them slowly until he gets baptized, then he is going to be a super awesome fellow shipper for them! We have others that we are working with but they are still developing faith, not quite repenting yet, but soon come.

We did service for our bishop this week. We went over and chopped his yard for him and then burned all of the weeds and leaves that we raked up. Leaves here fall year round since it is a tropical island, not just in the fall like back home. Yesterday Sis P. fed the spiciest curried goat I have ever eaten in my life!.. and probably the spiciest meal that I have ever eaten. Jamaicans like spice and I have gotten used to pretty spicy food, even enjoy it a lot, but this was a new level. Her house was so hot and there is no fan, so between the heat from the house and the heat from the spice, sweat was just drip, drip, drippin’ from my face. I let the sweat drip onto my curried goat hoping that it would cool the spice down even a little bit lol. Kinda gross thinking about it now, but in the moment it seemed like the only way to survive. When I got to the Boulevard area Elder Stewart talked about how spicy the curry goat was that Sis P. fed him the week before I got here. He couldn't stop talking about it for like 3 weeks, now I realize what he was talking about! So during the world cup games this week we could basically listen to the whole game just by walking down the streets here. Everyone had them on and so as we walked past every house it was like we were just walking with a tv set right next to us, at least the audio part. Then when there was scores or during the PK's, pots and pans were clashing and cheering and shouting and horns and noisemakers, I felt like I was in the stadium watching the game live. No one was on the streets during the games, but as soon as the final whistle was blown the streets were packed and everyone was outside again! Jamaica is great. I can't imagine what it is like during the world cup in places like Brazil or Argentina.

Well have a great rest of your time in California family! I got the pictures you sent me in the mail, thank you! Have a great week! One Love.
Elder Colton Harris

Monday, July 7, 2014

Baptisms and BBQs!

Good morning everyone! It looks like your guys' trip to California is going great! I am happy to see that you are experiencing some heat as well :) Quite a bit happened this week. Sis C.l was baptized this week, but there is a story behind it. On Tuesday I was just finishing up my studies and the office elders called. They said, "Elder Harris, what are you doing tonight at 6?" I said well we have so and so planned but it's not really confirmed, why? Elder Henderson was like, "Cuz Sis C. prayed about who should baptize her, and she wants you to do it." I was like woah, I met her for like an hour during the interview, that's it. Anyways, I was honored to baptize her.  I took another trip to Downtown on Tuesday to do it. She is amazing and her baptism service was great.  I got to baptize her on her birthday, as well as dads birthday so it was pretty neat.

4th of July was great. We had a BBQ in our house. I miss BBQ's so we were able to make one and grill some burgers, hot dogs, and chicken. Oh man they were tasty!!

St. wasn't able to come to church this week. He was sick, and I don't always believe investigators when they tell us that they are sick, but he actually was. he is still on date for July 26th so that is good. We had some really great lessons with him this week. He really is exercising faith and repenting.

So IDK if you remember, but Sh's daughter and son in law were baptized recently.  I sent home a picture of them. Well A. is the son in laws name, and 2 weeks ago he was put into the bishopric of Constant Springs Ward. It was only a 2 month period from being baptized to becoming a high priest,, that has to be some sort of record lol! :)

We also had dinner at the M's yesterday. The M's are an awesome family. Bro M. was the district president for a really long time, and now he is still in the Stake Presidency. We had stewed peas and pigs tail. But we sat around the table as a family. That was the first time I have sat around the table with a family for a meal since being in Jamaica, and actually scooping up my own food. They have kids similar to my bros and sis' ages too so it was fun. But yeah, when we eat normally, it's usually just on a chair on the front porch or on a chair in the family room or whatever. Jamaicans just bring out a pre-dished plate and give it to you when they feed you. You even just bless your own plate individually on a normal basis. It may sound weird but that's just how it is here. So to sit down at a table, bless it together, scoop my own food etc, it's something that I have never done in the past 16 months except for my first meal in Jamaica when we ate with Pres and Sis Hendricks for the first time as new missionaries, a couple times in Cayman. So that was pretty exciting for me!

Have a great week! Have fun at Lawrence Welk!! One Love!

Elder Colton Harris