Monday, January 25, 2016
Sad to say this will be the last email I will ever write as Hermana Harris. Honestly, it has been a long journey but I can say without a doubt that the Haleigh Harris that left the airport 18 months ago does not exist anymore. The Haleigh Harris that is coming home has had her entire life changed all because of a person named Hermana Harris. I have learned in my mission that completely “losing yourself in the work” isn't just a phrase to stay focused but has a very literal side. When you turn your whole life over to him, you start to lose the natural man inside. I lost the silly little things that kept me from the Spirit, the bad habits of my childhood, and really learned how to be dependent solely on the Lord. In this moment, I really lost myself and became anew. Now don't get me wrong there will is plenty of the crazy sassy girl who left, but, now, I am a little more of Latina sassy. Hahaha! I really feel like I left as a child and will return as an adult.
I have seen how Charity is the key to life through the service to others. If we don't have love for all those who we encounter we will never see the struggles in the ones around us. I have learned in the mission to love every single person that comes along the path because everyone is part of our eternal family. One phrase that I have adopted in my life is that you have to love everyone, you do not have to like them, but when you show your love to them you will learn to like them, too. Everyone in this life just needs someone to show that they care, that they matter, and who better than Jesus Christ.
We have a message that really is unique to the world: We have a Savior that loves us so much that He restored His truth to this world again. Heavenly Father loves us so much that He answers our prayers. They both love us so much that we have been given the chance to be sealed together for time and all eternity. He loves us that He sent a young boy into the forest to find the golden plates. He loves us so much He sent us the Book of Mormon and the Bible to guide us in every step of our life. They love us so much They restored the Priesthood power on the earth so that we can take the Sacrament each week. Christ loves us so much He suffered a pain incomparable to anything we will feel so that each day we can get on our knees and cry for forgiveness. Heavenly Father loves us much so He sent us His beloved Son to come to the Earth to guide our way.
I know that He loves the people of Puerto Rico more than I ever could. I know that I put a smile on His face to know that I tried to show His love to them for Him. I know our Heavenly Father lives and loves us so much! I know that He provided a way so that I could come to Puerto Rico to save a couple souls, including my own. I know that I never would be the same if I hadn't made the decision to serve a mission. I have learned so many lessons that truly are irreplaceable. I have learned how to love, how to teach, to be humble, to serve those around you, how to be a friend, how to be a companion, how to be a member of this church. I can say that I am set and driven to have my mission continue to change me from this moment forward. Because like Holland said, if you go inactive after your mission, you better cross the street if you see Him. I am NOT crossing no street! I will face everything that comes my way with the testimony and knowledge that I have gained here in Puerto Rico! Now, at this time, I can say I have been strengthened like Nephi, tried to serve like Ammon, and shown my faith like the Brother of Jared. I know that everyday I can continue to become more and more like them. That is my testimony. I share it with you all in the name of Jesus Christ, our beloved Savior, brother, and friend, AMEN!
Con Amor Siempre,
Monday, January 18, 2016
This week has been a week of very strange miracles. And by strange, I just mean we were not waiting for them in any way, shape, or form! It was quite amazing.
First is a lady named Vilmar. We had contacted her about two weeks ago and just happened to pass by this week to see if she had any interest in hearing the lessons. When we got there, she welcomed us in and opened completely up. She told us she has a husband she loves and two beautiful children, but that there is just something missing. The spirit during the lesson was amazing as we taught her the restoration. She was paying complete attention.
Just to allow your imagination to see her incredible focus let me describe the scene... the television was on a little kid spanish show while the four year old was playing with toys on the floor. The two year old was coming back and forth between the three of us, bringing us all her toys to show us them and explain each one. Yet, in the midst of all this craziness, Vilmar was completely focused on each one of us as we shared our part of the lesson. She had a smile from ear to ear when we explained how much the message was centered on families and how we know that she can live eternal with her family one day. It was a lesson I don't think I will ever forget! Walking down the street as we left, there was a weird sense of pure joy beaming from my two companions and I. Sister Pavon turns to me and told me that they will make to send me Vilmar's baptism photos. In return, we will send Sister Taylor photos of their temple marriage! :)
We went to eat lunch with Wanda on Sunday and had an incredible powerhouse lesson with her about how she needs to make it to the temple to do the work for herself and for her late sister! It was so amazing to feel the spirit as each one of us testified that families can be together forever and how much peace that has brought to each one of our lives! Again, I want to remind you all that I love you and know that I truly am blessed to have each one of you not only in my life but for the eternities to come!
On a funny note, we had exchanges this week. One thing, we did in both areas was right before we headed in to an appointment, we would say a prayer then we would open up the scriptures randomly to somewhere and read a verse. So Sister Pavon, Sister Lara(a sister trainer) and I read Alma 26:11 which says:
"Now behold, we can look forth and see the fruits of our labors; and are they few? I say unto you, Nay they are many; yea, and we can witness of their sincerity, because of their love towards their brethern and also towards us."
Honestly, in that moment, that was exactly what we needed! It had been a long day of doors in our faces. But God knows we did it with all our soul and energy!
On the other hand, in Ponce, Sister Taylor and Sister Johnson did the same thing. They opened to Alma 1:12:
"Therefore thou art condemned to die, according to the law which has been given by Mosiah, our last king; and it has been acknowledged by this people, therefore this people must abide by the law."
I can't wait to see you all soon! Muchos besos y abrazos!!
Con Amor Siempre
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
Wow, I am so overjoyed to know that we have a new member of our family!
WELCOME CHARLIE ROSE!!
I am so happy for Aubrei and Aaron! I know that Heavenly Father really is sending us a miracle and a great blessing. The most precious gift he can give is the opportunity to give one of his heavenly spirits a body. We all are so blessed to receive this gift. I cannot wait to see the newest little blessing, Charlie Rose Call!!
Honestly, there were two quotes that really shaped my week. I would like to share them with all of you guys:
"The Atonement is individual, and if you have something that is bothering you-something so long ago you can hardly remember it- you put the atonement to work. It will clean it up, and you, as does he, will remember your sins no more." -President Boyd K Packer
"I am convinced that missionary work is not easy because Salvation is not a cheap experience. Salvation never was easy. We are the Church of Jesus Christ, this is the truth, and He is our eternal head. How could we believe it would be easy for us when it was never easy for him?” -Elder Jeffery R Holland
I decided this week to take some advice from Daddy and reflect upon my mission. I felt that it really was these two quotes that summed up my mission. I have learned, more then anything, what the Atonement really means for me, in my life, and how I can use it my everyday life. I have learned that my Savior suffered so much so that I could return to live with my family for forever! I know that the one perfect man in this world suffered so much for my daily faults. And that on my mission, I could, only for a second, feel the pain He felt to sweat one drop of blood for me.
I know that missionary work is the most fulfilling work I could ever do. It is one thing to bring your own soul back to Christ. But the feeling of knowing that you can bring more then one is something indescribable! I am so incredibly thankful for the choice I made to serve a mission. I am grateful for the amazing parents I have, who the second I said I wanted to serve, started to support me in every step of the process!
I know that without a doubt that this gospel is the truth restored again. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet. I know that Thomas S. Monson is our leader and revelator in these days. I know that my family can be forever and I can’t wait till the day that we can all sit in the Celestial room together! I know that Christ is our Savior and our Redeemer. I know that He is always by our side in the difficult moments, along with the good. I know all this and doubt not a single part! I know that my mission changed me, but I never want to go back to the person I was. I just want to keep progressing!
I love you all so much and can’t wait to see you all soon!
Take care of yourselves this week!!
Con Amor Siempre,
Monday, January 4, 2016
We had a big change this week. At the beginning of this transfer, they put two more sisters in our area. So we have had a full house. There was a sister that went home early for who knows what and the mission president decided to take out one of the sisters from here to fill the spot. So now, we are in a trio! Hahaha! My new companion is Hermana Pavon from Mexico City! It has been a wild ride this week getting used to having so many people in a lesson. Goes to show that the MTC has prepared me for this moment without ever realizing it. So I started in a trio and I will finish out strong in a trio!
One miracle that happened this week was on Tuesday, before the crazy trio stuff. We had planned out everything to go to an area called Jacauguas. As we are getting closer and closer, I started to feel sick. It was one of the strangest feelings in the world. The further I walked the more my head hurt and my throat became sore. I turned to my companion and said that I thought that we needed to turn around and visit Carmen, a less-active. She looked at me kind of strange and said “well lets pray about it.” So in that moment, we bowed our heads to pray. I continue to have the same sick feeling. We then turned around. I swear, literally, it was the weirdest feeling in the world as I started to feel better with every step I took! That alone just confirms my testimony that as missionaries we have the spirit with us always! It was so amazing to see that the Spirit really is protecting us! I really don't know what would have happened if we had kept walking but I know that Heavenly Father was watching over us.
To even increase this amazing experience, when we get close to where Carmen lives, an old investigator named Alex calls out to us. He goes to tell us that the family that Carmen is always helping had a loss in the family this week. Side note: Carmen is a nurse and was talking care of a 98 year-old lady and watching over her 60 something year old son, Junior. Alex goes on to explain that Junior passed away this past Sunday. My mouth literally opened in shock. We had been in and out of that house singing to the mom all the time. It so strange to think that her son that was always making jokes with us was gone.
With that news, we headed to Carmen's house. When we get there, she starts telling us exactly what happened to Junior. He had a heart attack. Carmen explained to us that every time we were in his house sharing a message and singing with his mom, he would stay by the door to try to hear even a little bit of what we would share. In his last week of life, Junior was asking Carmen all kinds of questions of why she was Mormon and what message we really had to share with everyone, and who is Christ.
It honestly was one of the saddest and happiest moments. It was so amazing that even in the last moments of life people still look to Christ. I really felt amazed to know that we even helped him a little to understand and prepare a little bit for the spirit world! It was right after this moment that it was confirmed to me what I really want to do with the rest of my life. I want to help those that are almost ready to meet God go peacefully to the next world. I know that without a doubt that our Savior lives and he prepared a way that we can find that joy a comfort in this life!
I know that He is here leading and guiding us to the next life! I am so grateful for the chance I have to know and understand the Plan of Salvation. It brings me the greatest joy to be able to bring others to this same knowledge!
I know that my family is forever and eternal! What joy that sentence brings! I know that my Savior lives and has guided me these last 17 months to the ones that needed his message in their lives now. I know that it is this last month that He will continue guiding my companions and I to the ones that are ready for us!
Con Amor Siempre,Hermana Harris
Monday, December 28, 2015
It was an amazing experience to see all of your beautiful faces on Christmas!! I am so happy that I got the chance to hear how you all are doing too.
We had one of the most amazing lessons yet as companions this week!! We were visiting this amazing couple that lives down the hill from our house. We have stopped by a few times to say hi but never really had the chance to teach them a lesson. Honestly, we were at the point of contacting with no luck when my companion and I just looked at each other, you know that look that you get when you are totally lost, yeah that one. We instantly bowed our heads and offered a prayer. It was one of those horrible moments that when you lift your head, your hope is so high to receive the instant thought of what to do, but that didn’t happen. Heavenly Father decided to teach me a lesson. My mind was still blank. We decided to start walking until something came to mind. As we kept going Mother Nature decided to hit; yes, I'm talking about the bathroom. I have learned here in Puerto Rico you don't just go and use any old bathroom. So I went through, in my head, everyone I knew that lived close and felt that the closest was Jorge and Carmen.
When we got there, we were super set to get through the first lesson! The Spirit was so strong in the lesson. Another thing that I have learned to love in my mission is to start with a song. It really does bring a huge peace and spirit to set the tone for a lesson. We started with Joseph's First Prayer. This song has become on of my favorite hymns. It just gives one of the most beautiful descriptions to the most amazing experience a youth has ever had.
Anyways, in this lesson, I was so amazed because I saw the gift of tongues beam through Sister Taylor. She had the confidence we had been praying so hard for. It was so extraordinary to see the smile that went from ear to ear as she shared each of her parts of the lesson! It was one of the most incredible things ever. It was just a moment that you know from now on it will be easier for her. It is one of best feelings on the mission to see that even though my time is coming to an end that Sister Taylor will have the confidence to go and help all the people that still need the gospel here in Juana Diaz! It was a proud mom moment!
Where did you spend Christmas Day after we spoke with you?
--We spent it sharing some Christmas cheer to all around!
Do Puerto Ricans have any special traditions different from ours?
--Other than Three Kings Day most are the same. But at 5 am Christmas day, they light off fireworks! That was super different, Hahaha!
What do you do on New Years Day?
--Honestly, I don’t know yet probably will be going to a member’s house or celebrating indoors safe and sound with the Sisters I live with!
I love you all so much. Hope you all have an amazing New Year!! Guess what? I can’t wait to see you all next year! Hahaha!
Con Amor Siempre,
Monday, December 21, 2015
Because I was writing everyone the entire time, I really don’t have much time left. I just want to say that I love your guys’ faces. I miss you and I cant wait to see you all on Christmas Day!!!! I can’t wait to talk to each of you!!! I love the Christmas season... you each will have a letter in the mail coming to you if you send me your addresses! Pretty please! I need it from Aubrei & Aaron, Saydi, and Jaren & Hannah! Sorry, super sorry, but pressed for time. I love y’all!
Con Amor Siempre,Hermana Harris