Monday, December 25, 2017

Paramonga - Week 10

Prospero año y felicidad

Well it's Christmas day and I'm sitting here sweating because it's summer here! But anyways this week was awesome because as part of Light the World President Stauffer instructed us to meet together as zones every morning this week to go out and polish shoes in different parts of the city. We did polishing in Barranca, Supe, Pativilca, and Paramonga and it was awesome brighting the day of the people that passed by to get their shoes polished. They were mostly elderly people.

Also this week we had Heidi's baptism and she got baptized with one of her best friends from Primary who just turned 8 (while Heidi is 9). There are so many part member families here in Peru it's crazy.

Yesterday we also sang christmas carols in the big plaza in Barranca for Christmas Eve. And as always the people set off the fireworks at midnight. Unfortunately in my area there were a lot of people really busy this week. Most of them said that we could pass by to visit them but it would have to be after new years.

It was good talking to the family earlier today, I hope you all have a great Christmas.

Elder Harris

Monday, December 18, 2017

Paramonga - Week 9

El Intento de una Carta más Largo

Yeah so one thing that I've learned here in my time in the mission field is the importance of setting goals and making plans to achieve those goals. When I started my mission I thought it was such a waste of time, but now I feel like I wouldn't be able to achieve anything without those two important tools: goals and plans. Because the truth is we all have desires to do good things in our lives, but if we specify those good visions into specific achievable things, we will be able to achieve a lot more.

My mission president always says that numbers represent souls. And when we see more souls live the gospel of Jesus Christ we come to feel joy. But not just joy. The fullness of joy. And our fullness of joy increases every time that we help one more person live the gospel of Christ through repentance and baptism.

In our mission we have a yearly baptismal goal. One year ago President Stauffer said it's time that we have a larger vision, and he raised the goal of 2016 by 100 for 2017. We all thought wow that is a super high goal, but we worked with faith and yesterday the mission achieved that goal of 100 more souls than last year. And I'm sure that he is going to raise the goal even more for 2018.

But I have felt my faith increase as I have learned to set high goals and confide in the Spirit to guide me in how I can reach those goals. And I have also come to realize that after it is all over, the success that we have isn't always necessarily if we achieve the goal or not, but success is if I have become more spiritually mature by carrying out my plans.

And well I think this time of year is a good time to analyze our spiritual progress and formulate some good goals and plans so that we can keep showing our efforts in becoming more like Jesus Christ. I know that He lives and He loves us. We celebrate His birth because we understand and we have FELT the power of His sacrifice in our lives.

Thanks everyone,

Elder Harris

Work visit with Elder Ethan Pond from Washington

Baptism of Stefany

Evidence that Elder Quispe always has a smile on his face, even when he is camera shy

Monday, December 11, 2017

Paramonga - Week 8

Imañoya kekanki

Yesterday in the evening we found a good family that talked a ton, and as we were teaching them the Restoration, in the part where Joseph Smith goes to pray in the grove, all of the lights in the house went out. It was really weird, we went outside and all of the neighbors had power, it was just the house where we were at. But anyway, the mom took out some candles and we finished the lesson candle light style, and it actually invited the Spirit enough for them to accept the baptismal invitation.

One thing we did for Light the World this week was we teamed up with the President of the Relief Society and brought hot chocolate and panetón (traditional christmas Peruvian amazing bread) to a part member family and we had a family home evening. It was awesome and they said they all were going to come to church. 

My pensionista is teaching me Quechua, the native language of the people that live in the mountain region of Peru. It's a slow process.

This week I read a scripture in the Book of Mormon that said as we repent, we will start to prosper, and it touched my soul. I think it's so important to take time to think about what else we can change or what more we can do to be like Christ. We all lack something, and if we want to prosper we have to start with one small necessary change.

Elder Harris

Windy picture with the Fortress of Paramonga in the background

The sign coming into town

This house was a referral 30 minutes away from Paramonga that we contacted

Monday, December 4, 2017

Paramonga - Week 7

Se va Camacho, viene Quispe

My comp Elder Camacho got sent to Lima this week, and I got a new companion Elder Quispe who is from Tarija, Bolivia. He is my third Bolivian companion.

Other than that we have been doing the Light the Word thing, looking for service everyday. This week in the third hour of church we showed the video and the members filled out referral cards of people that they want us to show the video to, so this whole month we are going to be contacting these referrals that we received.

My week was actually a lot more exciting than this letter.

Elder Harris

Elder Camacho

Elder Quispe

Monday, November 27, 2017

Paramonga - Week 6


Well this week was interesting. We went back to Lima on Tuesday as a zone for zone conference. How my president does zone conferences is we have a meeting once a transfer but it's a combined zone conference with 6 zones in total. So half the mission basically. The meeting was really short, only 8 hours. But it was really good, the main topic was Faith to Work Miracles. I know that the church leaders really want us to be successful and they want us to have a fullness of joy as we help others to live the gospel of Jesus Christ. We got back to Barranca at 10:30 so we had to sleep with our District Leader and we got back to Paramonga the next morning.

I had an experience on Sunday that really impacted me. I don't know why but my experiences always happen on Sunday night, right when the week ends and the next day is P day. But anyways, we were searching for some new people to teach and my comp told me there was a part member family 2 blocks away. So we went to see if we could make anything interesting happen and a guy came out and said sorry can you guys come another day? We are having a birthday party. I was feeling a little confident so I made a joke and asked if we were invited to the party. He said he would go consult with the rest of them and when he returned he said we could come in. We came in and the house was full of people, visitors and other family members from Barranca. And we realized that they were waiting for us to share our message with them. It was kind of nerve wracking sitting there with about 15 people listening to us. But we shared the message of the restoration and invited them to be baptized, and about four of them accepted the invitation to be baptized if they receive an answer to their prayers. Wow. And after all that they didn't even give us cake! 

Elder Arenas from Colombia and Elder Bates from Spanish Fork and my companion coming home from Lima

Monday, November 20, 2017

Paramonga - Week 5

In our area there is this old fortress built by the Incas that is called the Fortaleza de Paramonga. They think it was a military base. But it's basically just a hill with old retaining walls built in. And it's interesting there isn't an entrance desk or anything. Anyone one can go there and climb the fortress. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Paramonga - Week 4

El Poder del Espiritu Santo

It's been a kind of slow week, we only found one new investigator.

But the one person that we were able to teach actually turned out to be a really cool experience. So two weeks ago, a sister in the ward gave us a referral, Maria, from La Gran Oportunidad Misional and she made an appointment with Maria and we went to the appointment with her, but she warned us that Maria's husband was a bad man that wouldn't want to even look at us. We entered the house and sat down with the member and Maria. We asked Maria if she could invite her husband to accompany us, she looked a little nervous but went to do it. We heard the husband in the other room say no and went deeper into the house. Maria came back and started to cry and we did what we could to comfort her and help her feel hope. They obviously were having a lot of problems in their marriage.

So during that whole week we would stop by their house to see if we could find a chance to talk to the husband and see if he would receive us or if not that he would give us permission to teach his wife. We finally found him and we asked if we could enter to share a message with him and he said no. But we kept talking and finally he said okay you guys can come in, but with the condition that you don't pray and you don't invite me to attend your church. We accepted and we started teaching him the restoration. When we got to the Book of Mormon, Elder Camacho and I both testified of how we felt when we asked God if it was true. Then I said Brother Juan if you read the Book of Mormon and ask God with a sincere heart if it's true, I promise you that you will receive an answer from him that it's true. He got this surprised look on his face and said you promise me? I responded, I don't only promise you, I promise you in the name of Jesus Christ that God will respond. He felt the spirit I'm sure. He said that he wanted to feel that manifestation of the Holy Ghost and wanted to feel a calling from God and said he would do it.

That experience impacted me a lot. In that lesson I felt a strong unity with my companion and I felt the power as we taught together.

Also this week Brianna was baptized. She is 10 years old.

Have a great week,

Elder Harrison Ford

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Paramonga - Week 3

Martes Dia de Preparación

Well I ran out of time but I'm writing on Tuesday today because yesterday we traveled to Huacho to have interviews with President Stauffer. We have had a lot of good experiences this week.

One weird thing that happened this week was we were walking down the street heading to eat lunch when we ran into six guys from Pakistan that I guess were being tourists in Paramonga. They were Muslims with their long beards and white robes. They spoke Spanish and English so we were able to communicate. They told us that we need to convert to Islam, it was kind of funny, and then they gave me a little bottle of perfume as a gift. Crazy things that happen.

I love you all, thanks for writing me, congratulations Zach for getting married, that's a man that understands the Plan of Salvation!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Paramonga - Week 2

Meter el hoz

This week I was able to get to know the area a little better. There are a lot of good people here. One kind of weird experience I had was we were walking around a corner and I saw a guy wave to us, we went back to talk to him and to our surprise he started talking to us in English. At first I was thinking wow this Peruvian speaks perfect English, but after looking closer I realized he had blue eyes and he had to be gringo. He said he was from Pennsylvania and he didn't speak a word of Spanish but his wife was from Paramonga and he was staying here to get residency in Peru or something. It didn't make a lot of sense, but he wasn't interested in the church either so we left even though I could tell he wanted to keep talking to us.

We have had a lot of amazing experiences this week with the investigators here in Paramonga. One is Juan, Elder Sorenson and Elder Bates had taught him in a work visit a few weeks ago, but this week he called us and told us he wanted to meet with us and that we could find him in the church that day at 5:30. We got there 10 minutes earlier and he was standing outside waiting for us. When we taught him he told us he knew the church was true, that all the other churches were false and that the other brothers had told him he could be baptized the 11th of November and he promised them that he was going to do it that day. He attended the two sessions of stake conference and arrived 10 minutes early to each one, it amazes me. He is a really humble man, he hardly has anything to his name. But he definitely feels something special about us, which is what is important. We also had the baptismal interview of Briana, a girl of 10 years, and her mom who is activating was with her in her interview.

I feel something special here in Paramonga. I feel like the Lord has prepared a lot of people to receive the Gospel here and Elder Camacho and I are going to thrust in our sickles with our might and we will lay up in store.

This is where we eat lunch everyday with Coquito

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Paramonga - Week 1

Nueva Area

I got transferred. My old companion Elder Huarsaya is training a new missionary (un gringito que no habla nada de castellano jajaja). He was really excited about it and also my son Elder Viera who is in Huacho right now is also training so that makes me an ABUELO (grandpa).

My area is called Paramonga. The zone is Barranca. My area is the northmost area in our mission. It took like 5 hours to get to Barranca on the bus, then another 20 minutes in taxi to Paramonga. Paramonga is a city, it actually reminds me a lot of Beaver, but instead of being surrounded by alfalfa and grass fields, it's surrounded by sugar cane. 

There is a sugar factory here and miles and miles of sugar cane, but they also raise corn and potatoes. I was expecting it to be really different from Lima, but it's actually really similar. The buildings are the same, the transportation is the same motorcycle taxis, normal taxis, and vans. I think there are less cars here. The city is pretty well developed. There is pavement in about half of the area. Most of the people here work in the fields or work in the factories.

We have a little chapel here in Paramonga. The ward is small; between 50 and 100 attend sacrament meeting. Yesterday I gave a talk in sacrament meeting. Every ward in Peru had church at 6pm yesterday because there was a National Census and everyone was required to stay in their house until 5pm, including the missionaries. I spent the time learning to solve the different kinds of rubics cubes that my companion has.

My new companion is Elder Camacho from Santa Cruz Bolivia. He has 7 months on the mission and he is still in his first area. He is in his 6th transfer here which is rare. 

We were leaving a teaching appointment with a young man who had accompanied us and we were passing by his house to borrow his bathroom and also to get to know his family. His sister was there with her two children, the oldest was 10 years old. We asked if she was member of the church and she said no. We sat down and had a lesson with them right then. The mom is a single mother that has been less active most of her life, but her kids go to church more with their grandparents. It was a miracle to find the mom there because she almost always is working in Lima. As we taught the doctrine of Christ we asked the girl if she wanted to be baptized. She said yes. We asked her when she wants to do it and her answer was...this Saturday. Her desire to follow Christ was very strong. I asked her why she wanted to be baptized so soon and she said BECAUSE I WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT JESUS CHRIST. Later her uncle and mom explained that it would be better to wait a few weeks because she hadn't gone to church in a while. So we put the date for the 4th of November. 

The family of members that we lived on their second floor in Naranjal

Elder Comacho

A view from our apartment window. We live above a Pollería, a place that makes Pollo a la brasa.
Chicken roasted with hot coals.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Naranjal - Week 19

Sed inspirada

One experience no más.

One of our new investigators this week is Ernesto. We were buying a drink at a store and we started contacting the lady selling stuff in her store. While we were talking a man approached the store to buy something. While the lady was attending to him, we struck up a conversation with the man named Ernesto. The lady brought him his things and as he was leaving we invited him to listen to our message. He pointed to his house across the park and said that he would be waiting for us. We finished contacting the lady in her store and went to teach Ernesto. 

He only had 10 minutes so we taught him rapidly about the Book of Mormon and we had to leave before we could put a good baptismal date. We also invited him to church and he said maybe he would find time to come (which means no most of the time). We lost contact from him then until Sunday morning when we passed by to see if there was a chance he would go to church. He was busy giving breakfast to his kids and said that he would come a little later. 

We honestly felt that all hope was lost because it was Stake Conference and it would be difficult for him to arrive there alone. But as we were sitting in Stake Conference feeling sad about having zero insacs, we saw him come in from the back door with his two little kids. It was a miracle that he was able to arrive. Later that day we realized that he didn't have a baptismal date, so we passed by his house and in the daily contact we invited him for the 11 of November and he accepted.

I know the gospel is true and it gives me complete joy teaching Gods children.

Elder Harris

Monday, October 9, 2017

Naranjal - Week 18

Que pasó esta semana

A nice experience we had this week was on Wednesday we decided to do a finding activity where we search for former investigators from the old teaching records in the area book. We pulled out a few records that seemed like good investigators and went out to knock on their doors, 2 hours later, we had knocked on 3 doors and taught 2 families. It was almost as if they were there waiting for us, it was pretty cool.

The bishop called us an hour before church this week and asked us if we would talk in sacrament meeting (we weren't surprised, it's something normal). I talked about patience, my companion talked about charity.

On Thursday we had a zone conference with 4 other zones combined and it started at 8 am and ended at 6 pm with a 10 minute break and a 20 minute lunch break. But it was awesome, President Stauffer talked about a lot of things. What stuck out most to me was the practices we did with the baptismal invitation. I was practicing with my old MTC companion, Elder Probert (who is the mission health secretary now). I was playing the role of the investigator and he was the missionary. He invited me to be baptized and I told him no I was already baptized catholic. Then he asked me, Brother, why do you think that I am asking you to be baptized again for the second time? That question was inspired.

This week also was a soccer game between Peru and Argentina, president told us that we weren't allowed to be in the street during and after the game because the people get kind of crazy here. So we spent the time in the house of members. 

Today we were taking our dirty clothes to get washed and a woman passing by said, Elders can I ask you something? She was a member that lives in the Lima North mission, but she is visiting her sister that lives in our area that isn't a member.  She wanted us to visit her sister, we have an appointment in half an hour with her. We will see how it goes.

Thanks family, son lo maximo

Elder Harris

These pics are from today, we climbed the only hill that is in our area, el Cerro Candela.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Naranjal - Week 17

Santidad al Señor

So we went to the temple this week as a zone. I wish i could go to the temple more often, its so spiritual. This time sitting in the celestial room with my companion i was able to feel a lot of personal revelation. Take advantage of having a temple close to you.

These are the elders in our zone for P-day today

Monday, September 25, 2017

Naranjal - Week 16

Pedir Referencias

So just a quick story, we were searching in our area for part member families one day and we knocked on a door of a less active family that we thought had family members that weren't members, the mom of the family came out and greeted us. She told us her family would arrive at night, we made an appointment and before leaving we asked her if any of her neighbors would be interested in hearing from us. She pointed out a house that had a tienda (here in Peru on every block there are 2 or 3 tiendas, like little stores that sell basic foods) we knocked on the door and the husband came out, from the look on his face we could tell he didn't want to listen to us. He was telling us that they were too busy and didn't have time, but then his wife came out and said, "Hermanos! Thank you for coming." And she opened the door and let us in. The husband was a little baffled but he was kind of forced to sit down and listen to us. With a little bit of time his heart softened as we taught them the Restoration. And we also were able to put a goal with them to get married.

I'm really excited for General Conference next week! Thanks everyone.

Elder Harris

Monday, September 18, 2017

Naranjal - Week 15

Mil Milagros

We had a cool experience yesterday.

First, none of our investigators came to church. It was pretty disappointing actually, but a member had brought one of his cousins that was a nonmember. We went to visit them after church and the cousin said that she was going to live permanently there with her cousin (she was from Huaraz) and she also wanted to be baptized, so that was a huge blessing.

Teaching investigators is seriously the best. A lot of the times it's difficult, but the blessings come after. There's nothing that gives me more joy than when we are able to see someone apply and live the gospel in their own life.

Sunday at 9:20 pm, (our curfew is 10 pm) Elder Arevalo called and we reported our numbers. We remembered that a family of former investigators we had talked to earlier had said they were going to be arriving at 9 pm, so we decided to pass by before heading to our apartment. They opened the door to let us in and it was a married family of 5. We taught them quickly a few things about the Book of Mormon and left to arrive home on time, as we were leaving the wife gave us a bag of bread from Huaraz to eat for dinner (which was the last miracle because we had NOTHING in our apartment).

When were got back home, I was looking at the bread the sister had given us and I remembered the Lords Prayer when he says give us this day our daily bread. Our dinner was a blessing from God, but not only the physical bread, but all the other miracles we had seen that day. In that moment I felt grateful. Blessed. Dependent. Humble. I got down on my knees and I thanked Him for the success and the blessings that we had received that day. I felt a lot like when Alma said I know that I am nothing. But it's not a sad nothing, it's a happy nothing.

On Wednesday our whole mission piled on buses to go back to the Lima MTC in La Molina (2 hours away). It was a tri-mission conference. Lima North and Lima Central were also there. We were instructed by Elder Montoya (from the area presidency) President Godfrey, President Larson, and President Stauffer (the three mission presidents) Bishop Causee (the presiding bishop) Elder Robbins (from the presidency of the 70) and last but not least Elder Dallin H Oaks from the 12. There were 550 missionaries there in cool. It was seriously one of the coolest experiences I've had on my mission. Elder Robbins talked in Spanish, but Bishop Causee and Elder Oaks had a translater. Elder Oaks talked about Real Intent. And his wife talked about applying the baptismal interview questions to ourselves. 

 A combined family home evening with 3 people we have baptized. (I didn't realize in the moment of taking the picture that my companion was in the bathroom, so thats why he is not there haha)

Monday, September 11, 2017

Naranjal - Week 14

El dulce gozo

One of the best parts of this week was when one of our investigators got married and they invited us to eat Pollo a la Brasa with them to celebrate their marriage. Then his baptism was on Saturday and I had the privilege to baptize him. We have been working with him for more than 2 months, and I'm glad that he was able to make this step in his life. His wife is already a member, so now we are going to help them with their next goal: temple sealing. But Fredy is awesome, I'm pretty sure he will be a bishop or stake president someday.

One goal that I have made for this transfer is to read Jesus the Christ, and it's pretty great, I'm learning lots of stuff I never knew and it has strengthened my testimony a ton.

This week I have been thinking about repentance and the role that godly sorrow plays in repentance. I think sometimes our natural man doesn't want to go through the process of feeling bad or sorrow because of our actions, and sometimes that is what prevents us from repenting, the fear of feeling bad or appearing weak. But it's so important not to let that fear prevent us from going through the process, because like Alma said:

"Yea, I say unto you, my son, that there could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were my pains. Yea, and again I say unto you, my son, that on the other hand, there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy."

The joy that comes after repentance is great.

Thanks everyone love you all

Elder Harris

Baptism of Fredy! (with his wife (member) and their two little girls)

FHE with the Tineo family!

Monday, September 4, 2017

Naranjal - Week 13

Algo Cortito

Okay well this week Mattheo was baptized and he is the best.  We met him about a month ago, his conversion was really fast.

It's really cold here.

Tomorrow I think the trio will end sadly.

This week we had a training with Elder Gonzalez from the Seventy and he talked about the spirit in conversion.

Until next week,

Elder Harris

Monday, August 28, 2017

Naranjal - Week 12

No sé eah

Yesterday we were doing the manera Libro de Mormon, and the zone leaders called us and said they had a referral from Pro that went to church there. The address was literally across the street from where we were knocking on doors. He was a single man of 29 years, he is seriously the most prepared person I have taught in my mission. He just had a strong desire to know about our message and the Book of Mormon. With the baptismal invitaction he said yes without hesitation. He had already made the decision. And when I asked him why he wanted to be baptized he said it was because he wanted to have a change in his life and abandon the bad things he had done in the past. It was very spiritual. We also had 3 baptismal interviews this week. Two are programed for this Saturday.

For District P-day we played soccer and ate Chilean Completos which are so good. The other picture is the Torres family where we eat lunch everyday, and in the middle is their neighbor that we are teaching.

This week we are going to have a training from Elder Gonzalez from the 70. And later this month I think Elder Oaks is coming to our mission.

Thanks everyone chao,

Elder Harris

Monday, August 21, 2017

Naranjal - Week 11

La Caridad

We had an experience yesterday with a referral that came to us as a message from the zone leaders while we were in church. It said it was a family of 3 with 3 attendences that was attending in Palermo but they live in Naranjal. We went early to find the house and when the dad opened the door he was so surprised and happy to see us. The referral said it was a single father with two children ages 14 and 8, but when we got there we realized he was living together with his partner without being married. But they told us they were thinking about separating because they were having problems in their relationship. I had a work visit with the zone leaders earlier this week and after it I felt I need to show more charity. The next day I tried really hard to serve my companions by making their beds and making breakfast, and it made a difference! I felt a lot happier and united with them that day. So with this couple I shared with them Moroni 8 about charity. And they expressed desires to improve their relationship and serve each other more. I'm so grateful I had this experience. I know I followed the Spirit.

Today we had zone pday and we climbed a hill called Cerro Pro. It's right by the stake center in Los Olivos and I can tell you that now I understand how massive Lima is. We couldnt' see it all because of the fog, but we were surrounded by pure houses.

That's everything I think.

Elder Harris