Monday, February 23, 2015
Everyone... well this is the last letter that I will write home from my mission. 2 years is up this week. Wow. It has been a super great experience for me! Jacob says around the time that he gets done writing that, “the time passed away with us.. like as it were unto us a dream." I feel the same way. At times it feels like a dream and it passed so quickly. I heard that my prayers were answered and that there was some snow this week! Sweet! Cody, welcome home as well.
So I saw pics of Adam, Tyler, and Marquez all together. While they were together on Saturday I was at a sweet baptism. We did the baptism for Sis A. at Old Wharf in Treasure Beach. It was super awesome! We had a private beach area all to ourselves. IDK how I lucked out doing 3 ocean baptisms while here, most missionaries don't even get one. We realized that Sis A. is the first person ever to be baptized from the community/city of Treasure Beach. Junction Branch is pretty new, like less than 12 years old and Treasure Beach has only been worked recently. This is also the first baptism in the Junction Branch for almost 2 years, even with 2 companionships here the whole time; In our district it is the first in over a year as well so we were super excited about that! I hope that it helps get the members in the branch more excited to do missionary work as well! Sis Ashby is great though. It has been an awesome journey these past 6 weeks. She is the first investigator of mine to make their first baptism date I think as well. Pictures of the baptism are below.
Had my last zone meeting this week in Mandeville. On Wednesday it was Ash Wednesday. We don't really celebrate that back home I don't think but here EVERYTHING shut down. Taxis, fast food, .. even bars!! Normal holidays here is when everybody usually hits up the bar all day long, I still don't know what made this one different.
I gave my farewell talk yesterday in sacrament meeting. Cried during a few parts, but made it through okay.
Elder S’s mom is planning on getting baptized in March. She never even went to church once before his mission but now she is working towards a baptism date back in Yahlas. The Lord blesses families as others serve.
So I do look forward to seeing everyone this week. It has been way too long! I am sad that Devin won't be there though! I hope that you have a super happy birthday in Brazil! No better place to celebrate a birthday than in Brazil of all places!!
The missionary coming to replace me is Elder Sinae. He is from the Bahamas. I actually interviewed his mom for baptism before he was on a mission. He was the translator for that interview because his mom only speaks Haitian Creole well. He will do good here in Junction.
Side note about emailing you all today... my computer either shut down or restarted 6 times today, PLUS the power went out TWICE. Emailing today was a labor of love for sure!
Thanks for everyone's support! I truly have been so blessed to be able to serve a mission! It is one of the greatest gifts Heavenly Father has given to me. It seems hard to be able to top experiences like this but I will in the next 2 years. The gospel is all about progression, so if in 2 years I still think that my mission was the best 2 years of my life, I probably haven't been living the gospel very well. The church is true. This is Christ’s gospel. I am very privileged to have borne His name on my chest for 2 years, it will forever be on my heart! I love you all!
Elder Colton Harris
|Can there be a sicker venue for a baptism??!!|
|I propose we move sacrament meeting out here too! #bejealous|
|The sun setting on Colton's mission...bittersweet...|
Monday, February 16, 2015
What a week. We are still working with Sis A. from Treasure Beach. She has a baptism interview scheduled for this Wednesday so she should be getting baptized on Saturday! We are really looking forward to that! She has now come to church 5 weeks in a row. She and Sis G. don't have a lot of money so they wake up really early on Sundays and go to the main road at 6 am and "look a drive" as Jamaicans say, but it is really just hitchhiking. Hitchhiking is pretty common here, but sometimes it takes them four different cars to just get to church, but they are always usually the first ones here. Takes a lot of faith for that. We are really looking forward to this baptism though for a lot of reasons. There hasn't been a baptism in almost 2 years even though there has always been 2 companionships here. So this will really be able to boost the branch and hopefully get more of the members excited and involved in missionary work. Next week we should have pictures of the baptism.
Elder Colton Harris
So IDK if any of you have ever heard of Colin Powell. So I guess he is/was really high up in the US government, he worked under Bush and Clinton for a long time as Secretary of State and some other positions. Well he is a Jamaican and is actually from an area called Top Hill, right in Junction. We went and walked around that for a while on Monday. There are several members in the branch that are related to him as well. After that on Monday we went to the Sports Park in Treasure Beach and played some tennis there. That was fun. Topped off Monday with an FHE at Sis G.’s house.
Wednesday was my last district meeting. Went to Santa Cruz for that. On the way home there was a shop that was selling carvings. I stopped and asked the guy how much for them and he said they start at $50 US. Well I asked him what the Jamaican price was, not the tourist price and he said $3,000. Then I asked him what his name was and he pointed to a sign that said 'Wheel and Deal'. I thought, “Man this guy is cocky, I'll show him wheel and deal.” Needless to say I walked out with a carving and paid less than $10 US. There we go, Mr. Wheel and Deal just got Wheeled and Dealed.
Thursday was quite the crazy day. There were 4 auditors from the Area that came and they said that they were going to do financial training for the branch leadership. They planned on spending 2 hours at all the branches, and for a lot of the branches they spent less than 2 hours. Well, they ended up staying for over 6 hours! There were so many things that were out of order, and I can't explain it over email but there were 5 professional accountants that were just baffled for 6 hours. They organized everything good though and straightened out most of what needed to be straightened out.
Friday the 13th wasn't a bad day either surprisingly.
On Saturday Elder Sullivan was my valentine! <3 He loves me lol... (He just called me gay cuz he read that part, Jamaicans are pretty homophobic.:) I asked Elder Stewart to be my valentine as well and he accepted so I had 2 valentines. Oh yeah.
Sunday Sunday Sunday. Church was great. I once again conducted Sacrament meeting, taught gospel principles class, and taught Elder’s quorum. Teachers that were supposed to show up didn't, so that left me. We had a new investigator come to church yesterday, Bro W. The lesson in Elder’s quorum was on Pray Always from Ezra Taft Benson and we shared a story about how Pres Benson started all his meetings with prayer, even while he was serving in the US government. We went and saw Bro W. last night and the first thing he said before we could even get situated into our chairs he said, "We need to follow Pres Benson and say a prayer now." We were like wow, someone was paying attention. He is super cool though, really educated which is nice. He got a doctorate degree in England and moved back, and he found out that he knows like 6 members of the branch so that was a bonus as well.
Today we went to Mandeville for a zone Pday. It was pretty great! Played some volleyball and other things. Going back to Mandeville on Wednesday for my last zone meeting. Sad day :(
Someone needs to make it SNOW back home! I am tired of hearing that there isn't any snow. Your weather sounds a lot like my weather! That is not a good thing for this time of the year! Hopefully that can change that fast! Love you all! See ya soon.
Elder Colton Harris
|General Colin Powell's land|
|My homecoming suit|
Monday, February 9, 2015
So I am getting way too lazy to type my email this week, plus I had a very limited time on the internet today! We had 2 progressing investigators this week. D. and S. A. Both of them are from Treasure Beach and both are on date for the 21st of this month! I am really excited about that! I am pretty sure that they will both be able to make it for that day! I will see you all really soon! Love you! Sorry this was short!
Monday, February 2, 2015
This week was the big 21 birthday week! Wow, that is a big number! Sometime this week was also my 23 month mark. My birthday was great. We went to a restaurant called Jack Sprat. I was eating jerked sausage pizza on the beach, what could be better on a birthday than that! It was a good day. Later that night Pres. C. bought some jerked chicken so we had that to celebrate with too.
This week we had a Caribbean wide stake/ district conference broadcast from Salt Lake City. That was really good. But since the internet was slow it would work for about 10 seconds and then buffer for about 20 seconds then work for 10 seconds and buffer again. So that went on for the whole conference, but other than that it was really good. President Packer, Sister Oscarson, Elder Holland, and Elder Wilford Anderson spoke. That was cool since I have met Elder Holland and Elder Anderson while on my mission. I was reading in my journal about when we were taking Elder Anderson to the airport in Cayman and he told us at that time to work extra hard at that time of our missions because it could be the only time that we are "equally yoked" for the rest of our missions. By equally yoked he was referring to how we were both seasoned missionaries at that time so take advantage of it. Looking back I think, "At that time did he know that after Cayman all of my companions would have been on their missions for 0 to 3 months when I was with them?" Anyways, conference was great though!
We also had zone meeting this past week in Mandeville, that was alright, it was just really long! Not too much happened else happened this week. See you later this month.
Love Elder Colton Harris
Pic 1) Jerked sausage pizza on the beach! Happy birthday to me! :)
Pic 2) My favorite road signs around here!
Monday, January 26, 2015
Hey family! This week was great! We had no Pday on Monday since we spent the whole time in Kingston and coming back. Tuesday was our really our only real proselyting day of the week. We had our branch presidency meeting that day and got a bunch of stuff done that we needed to. On Wednesday we went to Santa Cruz for district meeting. Had a good little meeting there and then Elder Mathews came back to our area for a trade-off. I am pretty sure that after he came here for a day he did not want to go back to Santa Cruz! Even though it is only about 45 minutes away, they are very different! Coming from Mandeville, to go to Junction you turn towards the ocean, to go to Santa Cruz, you turn towards the desert. It is super-hot over there! It is always 15 degrees cooler in Junction than Santa Cruz and they are on bikes. I've turned into a pansy again, I can't stand being outdoors while in Santa Cruz because it is too hard! So the trade off went well; had good lessons with him there. Thursday we proselyted in the morning then I drove him back to Santa Cruz and we picked up Elder Sullivan. Pres. C. was with us and he showed us a back way to get to Treasure Beach. We were heading over there for a cottage meeting at Sister G.’s house. We had a good cottage meeting. There we 6 non-members there and 3 members plus us. We got to know each other and then we had a good spiritual thought on the importance of prophets. After that she fed us dinner. Had curry chicken, fish, and you guessed it, rice & peas. Friday was weekly planning. That is the only thing that I am excited not to do in a month. We went to a new seminary class in an area called T. Last week only 1 girl showed up to seminary in that area so her parents said it would be good to have more youth there with her. Obviously we agreed, but the youth that are members in that area just aren't coming. They took it up to invite neighbors of theirs. Altogether there were 12 youth there this time, ranging from 5 to 15. It is a good thing the seminary teacher didn't show up because the lesson was supposed to be on D&C 77 I think. A question and answer given to Joseph Smith about the Book of Revelations, yeah that would have confused all them. We had a fun FHE thing with them tho and then explained that seminary is for a certain age group, but at least they invited people. Saturday we woke up early. We had to drive up to Munroe to pick up Prez C. and then we picked up the Santa Cruz elders and drove up to Mandeville. We had a few meetings there on Saturday. There was a family history training for family history consultants and missionaries. Only missionaries showed up tho. That was good. Then there was a priesthood leadership meeting as part of District Conference. Then there was the general Saturday session of District Conference after that. Only about 30- 40 people were at the Saturday session. Not that good for 5 branches. We took our mattresses up and we stayed the night in Mandeville on Saturday. We had to go to MayPen on Sunday for the Sunday session. It was super awesome to go back and see everyone from MayPen! I loved it!!! This conference this weekend was presided over by Elder Gammiet, he is an area 70 for the Carribean. It was good to spend a weekend with him.
I realized that I am down to 1 month left today...woah. Time keeps creepin’ up fast. I am usually too busy to keep track of time constantly so every few days when I realize how many days have passed since the last time I counted it blows my mind. I am enjoying this last little bit of time here. Thanks for the birthday wishes. For all of you congratulating me and saying now I am legal to drink, I have to say that I have been legal to drink for the past two years! The drinking age is 18 in Jamaica so all of that is old news lol. And now that I am 21, I am old news too. Have a good week. Enjoy the Super Bowl. Love ya!
Elder Colton Harris
|My 3 sons!|
|Restoration in Jamaica!|
Monday, January 19, 2015
So last week we went to Alligator Pond with a member of the Hopeton Branch and the Hopeton missionaries. We had a great time out there! We went and fried some fish. We didn't bring plates so we ate fish on banana leaves and almond tree leaves. How sweet is that ? I thought it was pretty cool anyways. Afterwards we went to a river and went fishing for a couple hours. That was super great too except that we didn't catch any fish ;( The locals said it is super easy to catch fish in that river but I wasn't seein' it. The river was sweet. It was this jungle river area. Tons of big trees with vines hangig down, I even went a little Tarzan for a second on the vines! After that we went to a sweet beach area. It had a big fresh water river that you can swim in running along the coast of the beach with amazing sand in the middle. That was a cool area.
Well I am sorry that I am sending this email very late! Today was a crazy day. I wrote the previous paragraph at the mission office this morning and now I am at the Vance's emailing. So we had to take our truck into Kingston to it serviced this morning. We woke up at 530 am so that we could get out quick and it took us 2 1/2 hours to get there. We got there early and stayed all day in Kingston at the mission office. We left the mission office at 445 pm and it took us an hour and fifteen minutes to get from one side of Kingston to the other! I hate traffic!! I was so ready to get back to Junction in the bush where there are no stoplights, no rush hour, etc. I am super glad I have never had a driving responsibility in Kingston cuz it would drive me crazy! It drove me crazy today!! Anyways, we had a great week. District conference in MayPen this week. I am glad to go back and see everyone in May Pen. Anyways, I'll talk to you next week. See ya next month. Love ya!
Love Elder Colton Harris
|Fish! (I wish that we caught these!)|
We forgot to bring plates, thank goodness for banana and almond tree leaves!!
Monday, January 12, 2015
Good morning everyone. Our week this week was pretty good. I am pretty sure that for the past 98 weeks or so I have started all of my letters with "our week was pretty good" guess that I am not original at all.
So I don't have a lot of time this week to email. I got on the computer earlier today and had to rush. We were meeting some other missionaries and a member from Mandeville down in Alligator Pond! I'll have to tell you about that trip next week and send pictures next week cuz it was super fun! Last week for Pday we also went to Alligator pond. We went down there are played soccer on the beach for a few hours. It was pretty fun because half of the field that we were playing on was sand and the other half of the field that we were playing on was the ocean every time a wave would come in. If you think a bunch of Americans can look uncoordinated with their feet while playing on grass, wait till you see a bunch of Americans playing soccer in moving water! It was fun and that's all that counts. We also went to a restaurant. I ordered jerked lobster. It was pretty good, I would definitely recommend it to anyone if you get the chance.
We also did some missionary work this week. Next week I will have to tell you the story about a less active named P.G. I don't have time this week but next week I will.
Devin, I've heard that the sickness you got is comparable to chickungunya, if it is then I feel super bad for you. Chickungunya is terrible so I assume yours was too! Keep up the good work though!
On Saturday we received transfer calls. I am obviously staying here with my comp. It was just bitter sweet because this is the last transfer call that I will receive before the infamous "Elder Harris, yuu a gaa yuu yaad!!” (Elder Harris, you are going to your house.) 6 weeks is all I got, going to make it count.
Keep it Irie.Love Elder Colton Harris
These are of last week’s Pday pictures.
|Played soccer on this beach for a few hours last week. Was pretty fun. This is near alligator pond|
|Jerked lobster platter!|
|Jerked lobster again! It tasted pretty dang good!|
Monday, January 5, 2015
Happy 2015 officially now! Our New Year's celebration was was very simple lol. Just had our typical proselyting day, then New Year's day we did our normal proselyting as well. Actually we had a bunch of Kilometers (miles) left for the month of December so we decided to take our dinner break and drive to Treasure Beach to see if we could find somewhere to go get dessert or something, we get there and only bars are open.. nothing else so we had to come all the way back and ended up going to get ice cream at a little shop across the street from our apartment. Got some coconut ice cream and that was it.
We have been having a lot of success with less actives here, I might have said that before but it is true. President C. just has a great connection with all of them, and they all respect him a lot. There were only 29 people at Sacrament meeting yesterday, I conducted so I got to bear my testimony first. It went well. The Stake and the mission here in Jamaica are organizing another huge temple trip to Santa Domingo this summer. We are trying to prepare members so that they can go on that. There will be 154 persons from Jamaica going on this temple trip. They are chartering another airplane and are staying there for a week. The participants are going to only have to pay $150 US, and everything else is essentially covered for most people. The Lord's work truly is great and marvelous. It's a miracle the church is able to make it that cheap for those here in Jamaica. Even though it is only $150, it is still a HUGE HUGE HUGE sacrifice for essentially everybody. But these temple trips show the commitment that the church has to help establish real growth here in Jamaica, not superficial growth where we baptize everyone but they don't really progress too far after that.
As for our investigators, they are still progressing slowly. Too bad, so sad. It is hard in this area. Taxis don't run on Sundays. For most here they either walk long long distances to get to church or they have to charter a taxi. Chartering a taxi costs about $1,500 even for just a few kilometres away from the church, that would be hard for me to pay $15 just to go to church every Sunday. It is difficult to help investigators see the importance of making the sacrifice necessary to get to church, especially when there are so many churches in their own communities that they could go to.
So with everyone freezing over there on that side of the world I'll go soak up some sunshine for all of you. We are heading to Alligator Pond right now with some other missionaries. It is the same place I went when I was at the very beginning of my mission and got jerked lion fish to eat, now I am going back at the end.
Well, I guess that I will see you guys next month.. crazy to say that. Have a great week, see you soon! Love you!
Elder Colton Harris
|$1 US per strawberry anyone?|
|BIG COW! tiny truck|