Monday, December 26, 2016

Pachacutec - Week 18

Cambie Pues

Feliz Navidad to everyone.  It's been a full week of hot chocolate and paneton here in Pachacutec.  Thursday we had the meeting with the whole mission which was really cool.  All 200 missionaries in the same chapel.  I got to see my trainer Elder Chalampuento as well.  Then Friday we had the Chocolatada with Maria Huaracha and I dressed up like Santa Clause for all the little kids.  Then on Saturday we helped Hermano Hisbis redo the roof on his house.  The houses here are cool, some of them are just little wooden sheds, but it works good for the climate here.

This week we've been teaching the families of our converts, part member families.  We are teaching Alex who is 18 years old (the son of Maria Huaracha). He played soccer with us today and he invited 3 of his friends, it was pretty fun.  And also the mother and the grandma of Patricia.  They are progressing and will be baptized in January, Berta and Alejandra.

We ate Christmas dinner 3 times... I was so full.  But it was sooo good.  The food in Peru is incredible.  They normally eat turkey or pork for Christmas.  We also had a ward talent show one night this week and we missionaries sang a christmas hymn with voices of trumpets.  We killed it.

I was really happy to talk to my family yesterday.  After the call I felt really relaxed and energized.  Ready to work.  The transfer is tonight...we will see what happens.  I think I'm going to stay here though.  This place is full people just waiting to hear the gospel. Pachacutec is the best area in the mission.

Elder Harris

The baptism of Arminda!  She lives below us.  Her daughter and granddaughter are also in the picture.

Christmas Dinner!  In the back is my Pensionista, Maria Teresa, and her two sons, Jan Carlos and Luis Angel.  Also Elder Sanabria and Elder Mamani were with us.

Christmas Dinner number 2 with the Alfaro Family!  Maguin and Rosario and their three kids: Maguin Jr., Johana, and Samira.

With Elder Sanabria.  We played football today.

Elder Harris as Santa Clause at an activity with the kids.

Cool Pics of the Ocean

Elder Poma and the Ocean

Skyping with my family and my brother that is serving in the Fiji Suva Mission.  My brother goes home on December 31st.

Mission Christmas Party!  Left to Right: Elder Sanabria, Elder Mamani, Elder Arroyo, Elder Bravo, Elder Taylor.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Pachacutec - Week 17

¿Quien subió el calentador?

It's been a hot week this week.  But we had a service project on Friday which was pretty fun.  It was for all 10 missionaries in Pachacutec and we made hot chocolate and brought paneton to a class in this school for special needs kids.  The special needs kids and their parents were there, and we sang Christmas songs, shared the Light the World Christmas video, and shared the message of the Plan of Salvation.

We also had a baptism this week.  The owner of our house, Arminda, was baptized.  She is 82 years old.  Missionaries have lived in this apartment for 2 years, I think, and I don't know if they have ever visited her.  Kind of interesting, but she received the message and the commandments and everything without problems. It was kind of a miracle.

One spiritual experience I had this week is I was teaching Alex, the son of my conversa Maria Huaracha, and he told me he didn't believe in God.  We talked and shared a few scriptures and he finally asked me why I believe in God.  And I was able to bear my testimony of the various things that I have felt and seen. Miracles that have happened in my life and that they only could be from God.  At the end of the lesson he got on his knees and asked God if he really exists.  It felt sincere, and I think he has changed a little bit hopefully.

Love you family,

Nos vemos en Navidad,

Elder Harris

Photos from our district service activity

Elder Harris and Elder Companion jaja

Monday, December 12, 2016

Pachacutec - Week 16

Ya soy viejo. Cinco meses.

This week I had a work visit with Elder Salas from Colombia in Ventanilla Alta.  We found this guy who, after we taught him, wanted to be baptized.  He told us that all of the other religions have come, like the Jehovah's Witnesses and Evangelists and others, but he told us that he didn't like any of them.  He told us that we were like angels that have come to share these truths with him. It was a pretty cool experience.

In our area we found a great part member family.  The husband is a member and the wife isn't.  We have been working with her and she should be able to get baptized this month.  We are still visiting Arminda, the lady who is the owner of our apartment and lives below us.  But she has been pretty sick lately and hasn't been able to go to church or do much.

One thing I love about Peru is the kids.  They are so great.  Our pensionista has a son who is 10 and he is always asking me how to say different words in English and stuff like that, haha.  One experience I had this week is we were walking through a part of our area that we had never been to before.  Some kids were playing in the street and started talking to us, asking us what country we were from and stuff like that, telling me to speak English.  So we ask them if we can visit their parents, and they get all excited like yeah! let's go!  So they lead us to this house and we wait outside while he goes and gets his parents.  After a few minutes he comes out with a really concerned look on his face and told us that there was a little problem...his mom is Catholic, haha.  I don't know if that's even funny for you guys but I couldn't keep from laughing, because the people are always telling us this.  I'm Catholic.  We are Catholics. Look, I am Catholic.  Ha one time after someone told us that they were Catholic, Elder Poma told him that we were the missionaries from the Catholic church and asked if we could visit them.  But they still rejected us haha.

I love being here.  This city is a sacred place.  There are people prepared to receive the gospel here.  I'm going to find them.

Con mucho amor y humildad,

Elder Harris

Baptism of Patricia

Here in Peru they have this food called Paneton.  It's just this bread with little fruit things in it.  It's an acquired taste but now that I'm used to it, it's amazing.  And they only have it during Christmas time.

Close Up

Monday, December 5, 2016

Pachacutec - Week 15

Ilumina El Mundo

Well it has been a pretty solid week down here in Pachacutec, Ventanilla, Callao, Peru.  We haven't had much time to work in our area this week, but we still saw some miracles.  On Tuesday we had a multi-zone conference at the mission offices where we received some great instruction from President Stauffer.  The main emphases were teaching and testifying while we contact in the street and unity in companionship.  They also showed us the new church christmas video Ilumina el Mundo. 

Then Thursday night my companion Elder Poma started getting a fever.  Friday he was bedridden, so I had to stay in our apartment all day.  Normally we find two members to help us so that the companion who is healthy can go work, but all of our members were busy.  So I read the scriptures for like 4 hours, it was great. My companion was sick Saturday too, but we had members to help us so it was alright.

By Sunday Elder Poma was feeling better.  When we were at church we saw a young women who we didn't recognize.  We asked her if she was a member and she said no.  It turns out she was a former investigator with Elder Chalampuento, and she came to church after a few months of not coming.  We went and visited her in the afternoon, and after we resolved a few doubts, she agreed to be baptized this Saturday.  

When Elder Poma arrived here, he taught me to always pray Saturday night that someone who we don't know might come to church.  And since we started praying for this, we have been seeing miracles like this, with people we don't even know coming to church.

One thing I've learned this week is the importance of writing down our spiritual experiences.  I know you all have a journal, write down a spiritual experience a least once every week.  I promise you that you will feel the spirit more in your life and you will be able to testify more powerfully when the time comes.  I love you all, have a great week!

Elder Harris

We played soccer for Pday de distrito today

It was Elder Sanabria's Birthday today, so we bought him cake.

R2 D2

Monday, November 28, 2016

Pachacutec - Week 14

Esta ciudad està llenado de perros calientes

It's been a full week.  We had two baptisms on Saturday, Maria and Lorena, they were both really great.  On Friday I had my last training for being a new missionary with President Stauffer in Las Palmeras.  On Thursday I forgot that it was Thanksgiving until 9 o clock at night haha, (they don't have it here).  But to celebrate we made tacos for the first time since I've been here.  It's been a long time since I've had a good taco, so it was a good Thanksgiving dinner.

I got sick this week.  It must have been some sort of food poisoning, because at 3 am Saturday morning both me and my companion were hurling the Arroz Chaufa that we had the night before.  All day Saturday was kind of rough, but it's over now so I'm happy.  I'm just a bit sad that I now no longer have a craving for Chaufa (it used to be my favorite haha).

I don't know if I've explained this before, but we have this thing in my mission called 10 Maneras (10 Ways) and it's basically 10 ways that we plan every week to find new investigators.  And the point is to be creative and think of new ones to use.  And well, my companion has a guitar. I don't know how he got it, he said someone gave it to him as a gift in his old area.  So we went around walking singing hymns with the guitar one day to find people to teach.  And we found a family that is having trouble with their marriage.  So who knows, maybe all that guitar practice was for something huh?

My mission president talks a lot about buen animo (good enthusiasm).  I have seen this in my mission, our attitude affects the success we have in life.  It's true that attitude is everything. Especially in the mission.

Love you guys,

Elder Harris

Maria's Baptism with Elder Poma

Lorena's Baptism

Elder Poma

Final New Missionary Training: Elder Ascero, Elder Cheney, Elder Poma, Yo, Elder Morocho, Elder Jardine

P-day Package from my Mom

Monday, November 21, 2016

Pachacutec - Week 13

No puedo encontrar la mantequilla de maní

What a week.  Well I'm still here in Pacha, and my new companion is Elder Poma from Cuchabomba, Bolivia, he has a lot of time in the mission (goes home in March), and I've already learned a ton from him this first week together.  The cool part is that he already knows everyone in the branch because his first area in the mission was Cedros 1, and now he is in Cedros 2.  He was happy to go to church yesterday and see all of his converts and stuff.  He is a really good missionary.  In his last area he was training Elder Cheney, who was in my MTC group.  I think the main thing I've learned from him this last week is the importance of gaining the trust and expressing true Christlike love for the people here in our area.  We are going to have a baptism this week, it's going to be great.

I have not spoken in church yet, but I have borne my testimony a bunch of times.  In fact, my first Sunday in the field the branch president invited me up to bear my testimony.  In my branch there are 4 missionaries and we are always working in the branch. Unlike Utah, where an area is a stake, our area and our workload is 100% in the branch.  So we get pretty close to the ward members and the branch leaders.

All of the mission meetings are 100% in Spanish, they have to be because normally the person conducting the meeting doesn't speak English haha.  But, if there is a new greenie from the states, they will have someone translate for him if he doesn't understand. Interviews with President are in English.  And the first couple of trainings with President for new missionaries are in English, but other than that everything is in Spanish.

My problem with the language right now is that I have a Gringo accent.  I'm trying to get rid of it and sound like a Latino but it's tough.  I guess I have a year and half to get it down.

We taught the owner of our apartment this week!  And she came to church too.  I don't know why the missionaries haven't taught her before.

Have a semana fantastica!

Élder Harris

Monday, November 14, 2016

Pachacutec - Week 12

Arroz Chaufa

I don't have much time today, sorry!  But it's been a good week. The baptism of Maria didn't happen, but we are going to keep working with her.  Tomorrow is transfers and my companion has like 7 months here, so yeah, he has been a great trainer.  I got to spend a day with a North American this week, it was pretty fun to do a work visit with Elder Taylor.  And we both have less than 2 transfers in the mission (jovenes).  But yeah, I have to leave, so love you all!

This is the Soto Family.  The mom isn't in the picture.

Elder Neira from Santiago Chile.

Yes this is a flavor and yes it's delicious.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Pachacutec - Week 11

Mermelada Morada de Mora

It's been a bacán semana here in Pachacutec, we are doing our best to teach repentence every day and baptize every week.  Everything seems good for the baptism of Maria this coming Saturday.  She will have her interview tomorrow and I think she's really prepared.  We are also teaching Lorena, a single mother who lives with her mom and sister and son, Angel who has 6 years.  Her mom and sister are members, and we got them all to come to church this last Sunday which was awesome.  She has her date for the 26th of November.

I want to throw in a little cultural note.  One thing that's really cool here in Pachacutec is all the motocycles.  They have mototaxis, which is just a motocycle modified to have 2 wheels in the back and a bench seat for 2 or 3 people.  Like a three wheeler.  We use them sometimes, but it's expensive so mainly we walk.  They also have mototaxis with a different design but they are mostly in Ventanilla.  They don't work very good on the hills here haha.  I'll try to send a picture of them.  And also they have a lot of the motorcycles like the one in Nacho Libre, with two wheels in the front and one in back.  They are used mostly to carry and sell fish or fruit or anything really.  A lot of times there will be a loud speaker attached to a pole on the motorcycle and they drive through the streets, announcing their product, and the people come out and buy.  They are always yelling in their loudspeakers in the morning during studies haha.

One spiritual experience I had this week was when we were teaching a single man in his house.  And he was making a lot of excuses about going to church and keeping his committments, and I had a power feeling come over me that I just needed to testify to this man.  So, I just basically bore my testimony, but I didn't feel like I was speaking.  I really felt like I was the mouthpiece of God.  I could feel the spirit working through me.  I'm so grateful to have this sacred calling of a missionary.

Saludes a la familia

Élder Harris

Elder Arroyo from Columbia on a work visit

An unstaged action shot of us studying

I don't remember why I took this picture

Monday, October 31, 2016

Pachacutec - Week 10

Manjarblanco and an Earthquake

What a week, well I guess I'll start with the earthquake, it was pretty intense.  It happened at like 10:49 pm. So, I was just barely falling asleep when everything started shaking, and at first it was like whoa a little earthquake, that's cool, but after 10 seconds I started to panic a little, haha.  My companion said venga Elder Harris! and we jumped out of bed and huddled next to the strong pilar in our house.  From what I heard from most of the missionaries in our district is that they all ran outside. I'll be honest I was pretty scared.  It lasted for almost a full minute, then we called everyone in our district to make sure everyone was alright.  It didn't do any damage though.

This week we had interviews with President here at the chapel in Pachacutec.  And Hermana Stauffer came and checked our apartments to make sure they were clean and up to living standards and what not.

One thing that I've been thinking about a lot lately and studying is the fundamental 3 commandments: Read, Pray, Go to church.  These are the first compromisos that we invite our investigators to do in the first lesson.  If the investigators lack one of these mandamientos they are not going to progress. But even as missionaries, we have to make sure we are doing these 3 things with all of our might so that we can teach and testify of them.

When we found the Family Leon on Thursday, Monica let us in the house, and we were kind of surprised because my companion has been here for 6 months and he has been trying to enter this house to teach the less active family but has never been able to until now.  And then Junior came in, he kind of had his head down, and he told us that to be honest he didn't want to leave his bedroom to converse with us.  But something brought him to us.  He later told us that he has been passing through some difficulties in his life and feels that it's time for a change.  I know that when we are working hard, the Lord puts people in our path that need to hear our message.

It's interesting that you asked me about part member families.  There are a lot in our area, we have the ward directorio that we use to find them.  We have 2 baptismal fechas now with people that are part of a part member family.

Have a great week ustedes

Elder Harris

We had to take pictures of our apartment to send to Hermana Stauffer to make sure they are clean so here are a few of them

Monday, October 24, 2016

Pachacutec - Week 9

A Fun Week

It's been a good week!  I cant believe it's already Monday again.  Last Monday we did a work visit with Elder Castillo (something interesting always happens when I'm with him).  So what happened is he got bit by a dog a week ago, and during studies on Tuesday we had to go to La Molina to get a shot, so we went there Tuesday.  On Thursday we had a training with President in the offices with my group that came with me in the mission.  And this morning I woke up at 4 am to go to Central Lima to get my visa taken care of.  Then we had district p-day and climbed up this hill.

One of my major accomplishments this week was teaching a lesson basically by myself on divisions during the second hour on Sunday because Elder Chalampuento was interviewing.  But I taught the law of chastity to a couple of conversos recientes who are Novios and Maria.  I was stressing about it beforehand, but it went so smoothly.  I felt the spirit putting words in my mind to say.  Stuff that I already knew.  Stuff that I had studied.  It reminded me of a promise that the branch president in the CCM made to me.  He told me that 2 months in the field I would be completely comfortable in teaching lessons.  And Sunday was the 23 of October, exactly two months in the field.

One experience this week was finding a man named Eber.  He was a reference from the Elders Quorum President, a less active member.  We knocked the door, he let us in, and I was touched by what I saw.  Hanging on the wall was a picture of the Lima Temple, the family proclamation to the world, and a baptismal certificate all in framed cases.  This guy was really happy to see us.  We shared the Restoration with him, it was a good spiritual lesson.  Afterwards, I asked my companion why this guy was less active, he had a testimony and everything.  I think the answer is Home Teaching.  Everyone go read Jeffrey R. Holland's talk on Home Teaching.  Home Teaching is easy! And it's so necessary.  These people need constant support.  Even in Utah.

Love you guys!

Elder Harris

P-day de Distrito - We climbed the hill!

Elder Arroyo made a kite that actually worked really well

Lunch at Papa Johns with Elder Castillo

Ventanilla Zone