Monday, November 24, 2014

Grateful for so much!

So here comes another week. Realized today that we are starting Elder Chappell’s 12th week in the 12 week training program... (no this is not a 12 we addiction recovery program). 3 months with him have passed by really quick. 4 1/2 months here in May Pen have passed by in the twinkling of an eye! I gotta enjoy this last week that I have here in May Pen. Don't know where I am heading yet but I know that I am leaving. This week, actually the past 2 weeks we have gotten drenched by rain every single day I think! We have been coming home so muddy every night and a few days where we have been wet all the way through from the time we leave the house at 10 till the time we come home at night. All in a day’s work in the JKM.

C. got baptized on Sunday! Elder Chappell baptized her. Finally!  It was great! She kinda put up a fight to get all the way under the water. The first time right when her head was about to go under she put out a pretty loud "Ahh", and then couldn't go down. The 2nd time basically the same thing happened, she had a little panic attack I think. I wouldn't be surprised if this was the first time in her life that she has been completely submerged in water. The 3rd time Elder Chappell put a little bit more force and she finally got down, not all on her own will lol. I confirmed her in church too, that was pretty great!

We have been finding a few new people this week. The good thing is that the people we are finding are pretty elect and they are pretty well established people with good educations and jobs and stuff. That is good because they will be able to be baptized and contribute to the branch right away to establish real growth out here.

So this week is Thanksgiving! Being out here has made me so grateful for so much! It is amazing how my attitude about so many things has completely changed being out here. I have come to think that when I go home and I get stuck in traffic because of road construction I might actually be grateful for that. In the year and a half that I have been in Jamaica I don't think that I have seen any road construction. Normally I would think that is great! But I realize that road construction= nice well-kept smooth roads.  No road construction= very bumpy, pot-holed, mostly dirt, narrow roads. If you were to tell me 2 years ago that throughout my mission I would come to develop a love for road construction, I would think that you were the craziest person on the face of the earth. Obviously I have also come to be grateful for many other things. I have thought about why I am so lucky to have been born into a family in the church, that is a small percentage of people compared to everyone. If I wasn't born into the church I probably never would have joined it honestly. I have come to be super grateful for my family! I have also come to be very grateful for temples, and the ease we have to get to temples. People would give up anything to go to the temple or to go back to the temple. Members dreams are to visit Utah. Yes, Utah of all places is where people of the Caribbean want to visit. Seems a little backwards since everyone in Utah wants to visit the Caribbean. Our mission president said that he would give up anything to live within a day’s run of any temple! Some of us aren't very happy if we live more than an hour’s drive of a temple, or if the temple session lasts longer than an hour. New perspectives are great! Have a great Thanksgiving day! Enjoy all that food! And happy Black Friday too since that basically seems to be a holiday now.

Have a great week!
Blessed Love!
Elder Colton Harris
Homemade guitar with a board, sardine can, and fishing line

Rainy season equals muddy clothing!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Singing "I am a Child of God" with a drummer's accompaniment

Everyone what's up! This week has been a great week! Saturday was the funeral for Sister H. The family didn't want to hold the funeral at our church because they said that no one wanted to come to a funeral at our church. It was instead held at a Pentecostal church in Canaan Heights. Wow, that was a party lol. We walk in and us 4 missionaries had some of the ushers come up and they walked us right up to the front of the building to the reserved seating, I don't know why but we had the best seats in the house. We did get seats right in front of the band. Most of it was like a concert. I think our seats also should have had a splash zone warning on them, with a lot of shouting (what they called singing and praising the Lord) a couple times I think that I got splashed on. Overall it was good, just loud and different. They had some of us from our church sing a song and we sang 'I am a Child of God.' The best part of the song was that the drummer gave us a beat while we were singing, I'm proposing a drum beat to the MoTab, it adds a sweet new element to songs lol. A lot of people were at the funeral. Unlike back home where you only go to a funeral if the person who has died is very close to you, everyone and then some who knows the person who died shows up. They even go if it is a friend of a friend or if they live in or have lived in the same community together, so lots of people always attend funerals. The excuse, "I can't come to church this weekend, I am going to a funeral" is probably the #1 excuse we get from investigators and others who we invite to church. We told some people about how back home we only go to a funeral if you know the person really well and they all said' "No man, that's just weird." So I guess it's all just what you are used to.

C. should be getting baptized this weekend! She has an interview planned for this week, so hopefully this works out now! It has been a long, long time in the making, but the time is finally here. I am excited about that! She is doing great, and has improved a lot even in the past week or 2.

We went earlier this week to re-drop A. From what she said to us at church last week we thought she didn't understand what we meant when we dropped her. We go there and we are like alright, you asked why we haven't been coming to see you anymore, do you know why we can't come and see you anymore? And she says, "Cuz you gave me 3 options and I didn't choose one of the options that would alow you to come back and see me." (The 3 options that we told her she had was 1) work towards marriage with E. 2) Break up with E. or 3) continue living with E. while you aren't married and if that is what you choose we can't keep coming to see you because there wouldn't be much else that we could help her with at that point.) She obviously understood our drop lesson, but then she tells us her and E. are getting married now... again. From talking with both of them it sounds real this time. It's been a big headache working with her. She is so close and I think she will make it this time. I think her 10 day drop was very good for her, it made her realize that we are serious about these things and pushed her to act. So instead of re-dropping her, we ended up picking her back up in our teaching pool.

So IDK if you remember me talking about J. last month, she is the lady that we asked for directions one night, then she gave us like 15 referrals for us to contact and we thought that she was an investigator. IDK if I told you this part tho, well we came to find out a few weeks later that she is a member of our church, just is very less active. We found that out because the referrals that we received from her told the sister missionaries that she was a member. We go and look and we can't find her name on the branch list, so we call her and ask her and sure enough she is a member. J. is her pet name, when she told us her real name we found it really quick on the branch list. Well her daughter is going to be baptized in a few months and her granddaughter is going to be baptized in 2 weeks. J., her daughter and granddaughter and her niece were all at church yesterday. It was great! J.’s daughter and granddaughter were actually the sister missionaries’ investigators before we sent them the referral, so that is also pretty cool, don't know how it happened but somehow it worked out like that. Hopefully they all become active in the gospel, that would be a sweet family story. 

2 weeks ago we were walking out of Value Mart where we do our weekly shopping and a guy came up to us. He was like, “You’re missionaries for the LDS church right?” We said yeah. Well come to find out he had just moved back to Jamaica from living the Nassau, Bahamas for the past 11 years. While in Nassau and during the presidential elections 2 years ago with Mitt Romney he started researching the church online. When I hear that someone has researched the church online it usually is only bad things that they remember and want to talk about, but he seems to be focusing on most of the good. He said he has seen good and bad but that he knows not everything could have been true. He asks really great questions, requested a visit from the missionaries and a Book of Mormon from but no one ever came to see him. He has basically taught himself so, so much about the church, and even started reading the Book of Mormon from the internet. He goes to the MormonChannel on Youtube and watches sections of general conference that they post on there. In Nassau he even went to the church building a few times to try and talk to someone but all the times he went no one was ever there. He is super prepared to receive the gospel. He asked us at the end of our lesson, "Do you think it would be ok if I could attend your church with you?" We were like, uhm yeah , I think we will be able to arrange that. And then we told him about institute and activities that our branch has on Friday nights so he is actually going to be coming to both of those too. He even invited us into his house to have the lesson, first lesson that I have had IN a house since I have been in May Pen, it was great. This is fulfilling the Lords promise in Preach My Gospel that He will either lead us to them that are prepared or He will lead the prepared to us. I am super excited about him, he is 18 years old, and will be able to be a strong member that can contribute to the branch as soon as he is baptized. When he walked us out to the front yard after the lesson he said, "I have been wanting to join this church but I just haven't received an opportunity yet." He has studied other religions as well and went on for a few minutes about what he likes about this church compared to other churches. Things have been a little slow lately with our investigators and this is definitely a tender mercy of from the Lord.

 Have a great week! Happy 5th birthday Marissa! I love you!

 Blessed Love.
Elder Colton Harris
Also, it is still really, really hot here unlike back home! #bejealous


1) Funeral services in Jamaica are a HUGE business! In all reality, if you want to get rich in Jamaica then open a funeral home.. they spend so so so so much money on funerals. They don't have normal hearses here, just Cadillac Escalade hearses, the only Cadillacs on the entire island I would say all are owned by funeral homes. When I die, that's what I want. Notice the speakers on the outside of the car, they blast music up and down the streets constantly...and there are many of these throughout May Pen, throughout every city really.

2) Lots of rain, fully soaked from being in a downpour for over an hour.
Colton enjoying the rain in Jamaica
Had to add this picture of Devin who is enjoying the rain in Brazil!  These brothers may be thousands of miles apart geographically, but they are obviously still very close at heart!

3) Fixing my shoe with silicone :) I really just did it for fun

Monday, November 10, 2014

All in a Day's Work Here in the JKM!

Hello. My name is Elder Harris and I am going to write about my week right now. My week was great. About like any other week the past couple weeks.

A., the one we dropped last week showed up to church yesterday. She wouldn't let me shake her hand because she said that she didn't like us anymore. I asked why and she said because we haven't called her or stopped by her house this week. I guess she didn't really understand what we meant when we said, "Because you aren't progressing, we aren't going to be come over here anymore, we still encourage you to read your Book of Mormon, Pray, and come to church but we aren't going to be able to stop by as often." Obviously we said it a little bit nicer then that but you get the point. I wish that she would get married or separated because she shows up to church even though we hadn't seen her for 10 days. She also taught FHE at C.’s house on Monday, (she is related to C., and C. is also one of our investigators) and she chose to talk on the Law of Chastity, now if only she would live it! Hopefully this drop pushes her  to start working towards something in a serious way.

We did service for Sister M.'s family again, the one we built the house for. We chopped her yard for her, and it was ridonkulous! It was super thick weeds! Chopping yard here with a machete is pretty fun, it's like taking a sword outside to cut your grass and all the weeds, but the weeds are MUCH larger in stature out here! It's fun, except we did it in the heat of the day and I got so many blisters! They would come in and then they would pop and then they would reblister after that. That was super lame, but it is all in a day’s work in the JKM!

So the Chickingunia virus is for reals when they say symptoms could last for months and years! I have bad joint pain in my wrists, and feet every morning! It's been like that for... basically the past 2 months since I got it. It wears off throughout the day, but every morning I feel like a super old person, everyone still has the joint pain symptoms sometimes. Whatever, only have a few more years until it wears off apparently :)

 Well not too much happened this week, have a great week!

Nuff Love!
Elder Colton Harris

The preferred way of carrying groceries home.

I will never complain of a push mower again!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Service is where it's at!

Sup Sup! Well I am here in the email shop and I just realized that there is a big poster on the wall, the exciting part is that it is a Duck Dynasty poster! IDK if Duck Dynasty is still big over there, my guess is that it has faded out, but since all I know about the real world is from my knowledge 20 months ago Duck Dynasty is still where it is at for me! I would think that because of that poster whoever runs this email shop has good taste, but at the same time there is a Justin Bieber poster too which makes me think that they don't really have good taste at all. Anyways, it looks good up there on the wall!
As for this week, we ended up dropping A. She is a long time investigator and hasn't been making progress for a long time even though she keeps a lot of commitments. We didn't plan to do this in the lesson but that's the way it turned out. She said that she didn't see herself marrying E. or breaking up with him. There isn't too much else that we can do with that then. She isn't completely gone tho, she is teaching a FHE that we are going to be at tonight with her aunt so we will still see her. Have another investigator named An. He has been taught before by missionaries and we found him in our area book. We have been having lessons with him but he always says that he will visit our church but that he doesn't want to commit to anything. Well we taught the plan of salvation to him this week and he got captured by it like a fish on a hook! He like it a lot, learned a lot of new truths and at the end he didn't even want us to leave which is a little bit different for him. He has an awesome family and I even think that he is married, I'm not sure about the marriage part but I think he is, and has 3 little kids. We are planning on having a FHE with them hopefully on Sunday, that would be great!
It has been raining a lot here the past 2 weeks, it has been great! Keeping it fairly cool, by fairly cool I mean still really hot but it's better.

This Halloween I didn't even eat one piece of candy.. how super lame is that! I hope that I never ever have another Halloween like this again in my life, it's kind of lame lol. Jamaicans do not celebrate Halloween at all, the most festive that I dressed up that day was by wearing an orange and black tie.

Saturday was a Caribbean wide day of service. The branch went to the May Pen infirmary (housing for mentally or physically disabled) and did service. There are 137 people that are housed there and they loved seeing us! We played games with them, cut their hair and did some other stuff. At the end we gave them all ice cream which was a big treat for them. We also passed out hygiene kits cuz even though they live in this complex, they aren't living in very good conditions at all. It will benefit them a lot! So if anyone back home has made hygiene kits recently, maybe those ones came to a good cause here in May Pen? They loved it a lot. It was humbling being there just seeing these people with disabilities and their living conditions. Yesterday in sacrament meeting the first like 3 testimonies were people getting up and saying how there was a bad turnout from members of the branch and how great it was and that they had no excuse to miss it, then the last part of testimony meeting was people getting up and giving their excuse for why they couldn't make it. It was pretty funny. It was a good experience tho. 

Well Devin sounds like he is doing super good! Have a great week everyone! 

Love Elder Colton Harris
Colton's District

The plastic is over the beds to keep them dry when it rains
The big chunks/rocks were removed and then cardboard was laid down as the flooring
Home they helped to build 

Service Project

Duck Dynasty Poster in email shop