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.

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. 

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 total...so 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

Monday, August 14, 2017

Naranjal - Week 10

Tres es mejor que dos

I am in a trio now, our new companion is named Elder Arévalo from Guyaquil, Ecuador.

So what happened is there are two companionships in the Naranjal ward, Elder Arevalo was in the other area but his companion finished his mission and went home to Colombia so he is going to be with us covering the two areas until transfers which are on September 5th. He speaks perfect English. And he is one of those people that always seems happy. He is calm, but he always has something funny to say. I haven't seen him get frustrated or stressed.

Last week we were searching for former investigators with attendances to church as our leaders asked us to. We made an appointment with a family, we made the appointment with one of the teenage sons so we weren't sure what to expect of the parents. On Thursday we prayed like we always do to find a family that day, and when we arrived at the appointment we found a family of 5 waiting excitedly for us. Three details of the room called my attention: 1- The marriage pictures on a shelf, 2- The huge collection display of liquor hanging on the wall, and 3- Three Books of Mormon on the table. I knew as soon as I saw all that that this family was going to be really interesting. The first thing they told us after saying the opening prayer was:

"We know that Book of Mormon is true, and we know the church is true"

This family had actually been baptized years back, but they never made it to their confirmation. Their biggest problem is that the husband works as a bartender. He doesn't drink, but his job prevents him from going to church sometimes. Like this past Sunday he couldn't attend. We are planning to help him understand why he should find another job.

Also this week on Sunday we had a regional conference for the countries of Peru and Bolivia that was broadcast from Salt Lake. Elder Cook presided and he talked about Missionary Work, Family History Work, and Temple Work. I feel a responsibility to prepare this place for a temple. We don't know where yet, but the new temple is going to be very close to where I am right now.

In the picture we bought a tub of 5 liters of ice cream (this is the first time I've bought ice cream on my mission) and a brand name nutella and sweet and condensed milk.

Happy birthday this week to my two amazing sisters Abby and Amelia and Abuelo Miguel.

Nos vemos pronto cholos

Elder Harricito

Monday, August 7, 2017

Naranjal - Week 9

Trabajo Arduo

We were able to lift up our insacs this week which was a huge blessing. We finally have some good progressing investigators. Ones name is Freddy, he is conviviente (living together without being married) and his wife is a member, but he is one of the best investigators ive had. When he reads the book of mormon he always shares a verse that he liked from his reading with us. They have their goal for marriag and they have all the documents they need. He wants to get baptized live all the commandments.

We are also teaching Hugo and his mom who came to church the second time (and we have only known him for 2 weeks) yesterday with his mom, he is a single father who also lives with his 3 kids, but the kids are really shy, when we ask them questions they just laugh and look at their dad. They havent come to church yet, we are praying trying to understand how we can help them progress like their dad.

And another miracle we had this week is we were walking down the street and out of the blue a girl yells elderes and she was a member from Villa Sol (another ward in another stake), and she was walking with her friend Matthew who was not a member. They said they were going to Matthews house for a work meeting, and they invited us to come so that another day we could visit Matthew. It ended up that he lived right across the street from our apartment haha. He told us that he believed Joseph Smith was a prophet and he came to church as well for 3 hours and shared his testimony in Elders Quorum.

I started reading the book of mormon again, but this time im looking for the doctrine of christ. The story of Nephi with his brothers has impacted me with how perfect it fits with endure to the end. I feel like if i had brothers like that i would give up and say i cant do this anymore, but Nephi never lost faith and endured even when the worst things happened to him over and over again. I want to have that same faith when there are challenges in my mission.

I feel like i always have interesting experiences with drunk people. Yesterday we were heading back to our apartment when a guy called and motioned us to come over, we came up to talk to him. He told us he wanted to buy us some peach juice because we were right next to a store. After a few moments we realized that he was really drunk, but we thanked him for his kindness and we drank our juice as he told us a few stories that didnt make sense.

And another time we contacted a family in the street and the husband was super drunk, and he grabbed my hand strongly and wouldnt let go. Then he started talking to me in English, and he actually spoke english very well, it surprised me a lot.

This week Kyle Webb is visiting and so its interesting because he taught and baptized the wife of Luis Orozco who we baptized 3 weeks ago.

Here is the picture of us eating Guinea Pig

And another of the roof of our house.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Naranjal - Week 8

Es tiempo de volar

On Saturday we found a single man (Hugo) and his mom to teach, they lived in very humble circumstances, but we taught the restoration and they accepted everything very well. We were about to finish, their commitment to go to church the next day was a little shaky. In my mind I was thinking that last week we had zero insacs. And in this moment we didn't have anyone committed to go to church. I also thought in the suggestion President Stauffer gave us to invite them to eat lunch with a member. So I invited them to eat lunch with a member that lived near tomorrow before going to church (because our church starts at 2pm). When I said that they were a little surprised! But they said that would be great and afterwards we could to go church. We called the Tineo family to see if they could provide the lunch and they accepted. We ate lunch with them and left them with the Tineo family to take them to church. And that was how we had our 2 insacs this week.

This week the Los Olivos zone, we were sent to a Young single adult convention in this huge park in the Lima North Mission to look for the investigators there and ask for referrals.

Thanks for everything everyone.

Elder Harris

Monday, July 24, 2017

Naranjal - Week 7

Supongo que es el dia del pionero o algo

This week we had the baptism of Lynn Andamo. He was a PF of 25 years and one thing that he said in his testimony at the end of the baptismal service was that he knew that baptism was the only way that he was going to be able to be with his mother again in heaven (she was a member and passed away from cancer 2 months ago). He has had a huge change in his life and it strengthens my testimony so much seeing people live it. We don't have very many progressing investigators right now, so we are going to focus on finding this week and helping our few fechas attend church.

A field that we found in our area. We are on the outskirts of Lima
 and it was so nice to find an open field.

The baptism of Lynn. His cousin came from another part of Lima to baptize him.

Junior. A member preparing for the mission that always comes with us to visit people.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Naranjal - Week 6

Bajando la montaña ya

Well on Wednesday I completed a year on my mission, and I've heard that the thing to do when you complete a year is burn a shirt. So we went up on the roof and burned a shirt.

We had the baptism of Luis Orosco.

For P-day we did something new...just kidding we played soccer.

Out of time!

Love you all chao

Elder Harris

Monday, July 10, 2017

Naranjal - Week 5

Que podrìa titular esta carta

One experience this week was when we were doing a finding activity called singing hymns. We were walking down the street when we saw a man sitting down on the sidewalk reading a paper. We crossed the street and said hey can we sing a hymn for you? He looked up and said sure; my favorite is number 41 (Grande Eres Tu). We were kind of surprised but we still sang it. When we finished I looked at his face and there were tears coming out of his eyes. He told us that he lived in Comas (Lima North Mission) but he was a less active member. He said when we sang the hymn it reminded him of when the first missionaries taught him the gospel and of his conversion. He told us he wanted to return to the church, and he committed to go to church this Sunday. I remember that day ended up being a long day where we were just walking all day, but that experience gave my companion and I animo that helped us through the day. And I know that if we follow the spirit we are going to have spiritual experiences.

Another thing that happened this week is Brad Wilcox (writer and professor at BYU) I guess is friends with my Mission President, and he did a fireside for 3 stakes in my mission: Los Olivos, Prolima, and Palmeras. The purpose was to find new investigators. Members brought their friends and family that weren't members (to give as referrals to the missionaries) and we as missionaries brought investigators. He talked for about an hour about the subject: What do I gain by being Mormon? He was hilarious and has a heavy Chilean accent (he served as a mission president there). But it was awesome, we had some referrals given to us. And at the beginning all the missionaries in the 3 zones got up and sang Nearer my God to thee which was pretty cool.

Work visit with Elder Cardenas from COLOMBIA...està colocho...

My comp took this right before we came to the internet cafè. In Avenida San Josè.

My desk. Don't ask questions.