Monday, September 26, 2016

Pachacutec - Week 5


I don't have much time but Santos was baptized this week! Its been a good experience teaching him. We found him my second week here and he was a reference from Hermano Guillermo.  He is 78 years old, He doesn't read or write so Guillermo has been reading with him. He also can't hear very well, but he loves music and hymns. So we taught him a lot using hymns, we teach him a hymn to teach a principle. It works great. He said that he used to play the trumpet. Anyways since Guillermo gave us the reference we asked Guillermo to baptize him (Guillermo is a convert of about 3 years so he hasn't had the opportunity to baptize someone yet.) 

Guillermo is also somewhat old, so we decided it would be safest to have someone else in the font to help. So yeah I was in the font with them. And it's a good thing I was haha. So first of all Santos fell when he was walking down into the water, luckily we were there to catch him before he went all the way under, but then when Guillermo went to baptize him, he lost his balance and they both would have gone under the water if I hadn't been there to push them both back up. It was kind of crazy, but I'm grateful for the opportunity to have taught Santos and to continue teaching him.

Today we had Zone P-day so we went to Ventanilla to play soccer at the stake center. And a new rule that President Stauffer made is that every week at district meeting we are to have an English class for the Latino missionaries. It's been fun, Elder Quesne has been teaching it mostly, but he leaves this transfer and I'm the only other white kid in my district, so yeah I might be teaching it in 2 weeks. The transfer is on October 4.

Could you send me some microwave recipes Abby and Amelia?

Thanks love you chao

Elder Harris

Santos' Baptism

Monday, September 19, 2016

Pachacutec - Week 4

Basura en la playa

This week we got to go to the beach! Which is really cool because it's a mission rule that we can't go to the beach on p-day and never. But there is an exception once a year, it's an activity for I think all the Stakes in Lima. And it's the Mormon Helping Hands thing with the yellow vests. So yeah our zone went to the beach in Ventanilla and cleaned up trash. There were tons of Mormons in yellow vests, and I think they were in different places too, because the only missionaries we saw were from our zone. It was cool. But after a few hours of picking up trash it gets kind of old. And when I say there was a lot of garbage, just compare it to the trash pile and yeah it was about the same. We weren't allowed to bring cameras unfortunately. And also the rule for cameras all the time is we can't have them while we proselyte. Only on p-day, so sorry if I don't send a lot of pics.

So I guess I'll talk a little about the work here in Pachacutec. We teach normally 10-14 lessons a week, and that's not counting less actives and recent converts, which is usually 2-4 depending on the week. This last week we taught a lot of Lesson 1s (The Restoration) to new investigators, but none of them were able to attend sacrament meeting. Only Santos and Wilford, who have dates to be baptized this Saturday but I don't know if it's going to happen. Our challenge is getting people to keep their commitments.

In my mission we have a thing called Diez Maneras. So we choose our own 10 specific, creative, inspired, smart ideas of ways to find, and we do each one for an hour every week. That plus talking to people on the street is basically how we find. One manera that is standard for every companionship in the mission is called Mini Zion. Basically we choose a small area in our area and for an hour everyday we walk around in this mini area. And for this hour we only talk to people as if we were their neighbor. We don't mention the church or anything. And we do this all week to establish trust with the people. Then, on Sunday, the last day of the week, we make contacts. It's pretty cool, and it works.

For our investigators with baptismal dates, we have Santos, a 77 year old man who can't read or write. But we have a great member who has been reading the Book of Mormon with him. I feel that Santos has a great desire to learn and progress. There are some problems with his son not wanting him to be baptized, but we will work through it. For October, we have a 19 year old joven Roberto and his older sister Juana who are living together, they always have questions, and they are reading the Book of Mormon so we have hopes for them. Yesterday Santos was our only insac.

One of my goals for my mission is to really know the Book of Mormon. During my personal study I've put a lot of time into really studying this book inside and out. It's amazing. We are so blessed to have this record to help us build our faith in Christ and learn the doctrine.

One spiritual experience this week was during 10 maneras. We experimented on a new manera last Thursday: Himnos. It felt kind of awkward at first, to ask if we could come in and sing a hymn for the family, but this one family let us in. We sang Amad a Otros and it really brought the spirit into the home. Then we taught Lesson 1. It was really cool, I think we are going to keep this manera.

It's warming up here in Peru. I only have to wear one sweater during study time instead of two haha. It's crazy how the humidity makes in cold.

But yeah the branch is great, most of the members are converts, but they are great. It's a challenge because the branch president and ward mission leader are the two members that we work the most with it seems like, and they are both really hard to understand haha, they just mutter all their words. So during ward council (which is another thing in this area of south america, the missionaries always attend ward council) it's a bit hard for me to participate. But yeah, all is well.


Elder Harris

Monday, September 12, 2016

Pachacutec - Week 3

Pollo a La Brasa

Hey guys how's it going? So the address to my house is Manzana (Block) H Lot 9 of Los Cedros. I think the street name is Cusco, and it's right next to a park. I don't know if you can see it on google maps but you can try I guess. So one cool thing here is the way they utilize their resources. They use old tires to make retaining walls, and I've also seen them be used for flower pots, haha it's kind of cool.

I had my first experience with the language of Quechua this week. We knocked on this door and an old lady came out and started talking to us, and then she started talking Quechua and I asked my comp if he could understand her and he was like nope. She was really old I think she was just confused. So yeah, President Stauffer said once we perfect English and Spanish we can learn Quechua if we want.

One interesting aspect of this work here is how we work with couples living together that are not married. Normally when we contact someone we always ask if they are civilly married, and if they are not, we can only teach them one lesson and invite them to church. Then, if they want to continue to learn about the gospel they can in gospel principles class. The reason for this is unmarried couples are very unlikely to progress, because they can't be baptized until they are married, so our time is better spent on married families. But I think we can teach them if they have a date to be married...anyways its tough because probably over half of the couples we contact aren't married.

Another interesting aspect of the work in this area (the South America Northwest area) is the work with recent converts and less active members. We have this chart thing where after a person is baptized, the ward and the missionaries continue to work with them, passing step by step until they are ultimately sealed as a family in the temple. We have been working with the Soto family since I arrived here. They were less active members, but now they come to church every week. I think the term is rescued, but it means that we taught them all the missionary lessons. They are meeting with the branch president soon to set a date for the temple so we are super excited for them.

There are some weird connections to WWII that I have to share. So Pachacutec is broken up into little communities like Los Cedros, and the church is in the community named Hiroshima (yes like the city in Japan). And we have an investigator named Hitler right now. Yes his first name is Hitler. And the Spanish word in the scriptures for burnt offering is holocausto.

The Spanish is good. I really don't know how to describe it. I'm understanding more and more everyday. At times I'm really comfortable in lessons and stuff, and other times no. Some people are easy to understand and others aren't. I can usually say what I need to, it's just really slow.

One spiritual experience I had was yesterday, and it's kind of just a normal experience for a missionary, but honestly I don't know if I've ever felt so guided by the Spirit in my life. So it was like 8:50 pm and we were heading back to our apartment, and we passed a street and I looked down and saw this house. We kept walking, and I tried to shrug it off, that it was just another house, no big deal, we need to get home. But the feeling just kept getting stronger and stronger to turn around, and eventually yeah I turned around and we went back and knocked on it. But... no one answered. We left a card with our phone number on it, and returned to home. But I was confused...I knew that the Spirit it led me to that door...So why didn't they answer?  Then Elder Chalampuento told me that they were old investigators and maybe now they are prepared to accept the gospel. I really hope so, we are going to return and find out.

Con amor,

Elder Harris

Monday, September 5, 2016

Pachacutec - Week 2

La Vida de Pachacutec

This week has been awesome. I'm starting to understand what people are saying, so yeah, miracles do happen. Spanish is starting to feel like English. But not always, there are still people that don't speak clear at all and it's really hard to understand. But I'm speaking more in our lessons so all is well.

Our apartment is in Block (manzana) H of Los Cedros of Pachacutec.  I'm not sure the lot number, but I doubt you can google maps it. It's a few blocks east of the chapel though. We are fortunate to have the chapel in our area, because there is a ward called Yoshiyama and a branch called Los Cedros in Pachacutec, and both go to this chapel. All of my district is in Pachacutec, so there are three companionships in Yoshiyama and two in Cedros. 

The only other white guy is Elder Queane (pronunced Kane) from England and he goes home this transfer. I'm the only North American in this city. Oh and Elder Mamani and Elder Sanabria moved out this week because I guess it was just a temporary thing until they found new living quarters in their area, so it's just me and Elder Chalampuento now. I made him pray in English today for language study haha it was actually really good. He knows more than I thought he did. 

Anyway we had zone meeting this week in Ventanilla, which is like 20 or 30 minutes away via a tiny bus the size of a van. It usually costs 1 sol per time, so like 30 cents. We also go there for District meeting every week. Besides Elder Quean there are 3 other Americans in my zone and they were all in my MTC group, oh and there is one Hermana from Minnesota.  So yeah I'm pretty sure most of the mission is Latinos which is awesome. 

We had stake conference this last Sunday and it was live stream from the stake center in Ventanilla to our chapel. But of course there were technical problems so we didn't get to watch it. But we had 2 of our investigators in church which is really good. They are two old men, Santos and Wilford. They were both references from a recent convert in the ward, Guillermo. He is a great guy because he reads the Book of Mormon with Santos, because Hermano Santos can't read or wright. We are also teaching two young families with little kids. 

From what I've heard from members and stuff, Pachacutec hardly existed 20 years ago, and now it's huge. Probably 100,000 or 200,000 people live in this area. Our goal with the branch is to get it converted to a ward and it's almost there. And also, Ventanilla is the biggest stake in our mission with 7 wards and 2 branches. Our goal is to split the stake and have a Pachacutec stake because our chapel is designed to be a stake center. 

Also, my Pensionista, Hermana Teresa apparently is one of the best in the mission (according to my companion) but I believe him. The food here is way better than the CCM. I had crab soup the other day and it was so so good. She's the best. 

We hiked to the top of the hill this p-day to get some pictures. So yeah, till next week, love you all.

Elder Harris

My companion and roomates
Us 4 in our apartment. Makes me look tall haha.

Looking out my apartment window

Another picture of my area

Me at the top of the hill. You can't see much in this pic because of the fog, but there is a city down there.

Elder Chalampuento at the top of the hill over looking Pachacutec

My Desk

This fruit is called granadilla, it looks like fish eggs but it's actually not bad. Kind of crunchy. We eat them a lot.
On the First Day at the Beach

My companion and I that first training day. It was cool, they had us walk in to the chapel while all the trainers were singing Called to Serve. And then they had a power point up on the screen and it showed pictures of our trainers and then of us and everyone clapped and cheered as they announced every companionship. It was cool.

At the MTC

At the MTC