Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Here in Puerto Rico

Hola familia!!

Hey, I first want to say thank you so much for eating a cake in my honor.

I love all the photos of your weekend adventures in Rexsburg! I am so grateful for you all and love to see the pictures of you guys each week!!

Here in Puerto Rico it has definitely been a huge change from the CCM. A great change! My companions name is Hermana Watkins. She is from San Francisco. She is 22 and a senior a BYU. Well let’s just say it has been a very hard week. Switching from companions that I grew to love dearly, and right off the bat were friends, to now has been hard. Let's just say Hermana Watkins is just different. So it is going to be a rough couple of weeks but I know that the Lord put us together for a reason.

We are in Guyanbo. Which is right next to San Juan. We actually live in San Juan. Our apartment is one of the best available. We have a swamp cooler, two fans, washer and dryer. It was kind of dirty when we first arrived but that was because the elders had just moved out of it the day before. We are in the AP's old apartment.  They moved somewhere else. We actually share this area with them. We are two new-bees in this area. They call it whitewashing. Also they have never had two sets in this area before. 

It is amazing how many people here speak English. My companion was on one of the islands for 6 months. Sisters have all been taken off the islands now for safety, only senior couples and a few elders.  So my companion has only been speaking Spanish here for the last 6 weeks. We will being learning together. It will be hard but the Lord will be there to help us.

With opening a new area, we didn't a ward list until yesterday, so we have just been tracking and contacting for the past week. My feet are tired. It is incredibly hot here, but it has been fun to meet a lot of different people. We sadly have only come out with one investigator, but I know there is other people here for us to find and bring the gospel to.

This Saturday and Sunday was stake conference. It was awesome because I had the opportunity to meet all the other missionaries in my zone. I also got to see three missionaries that I was in the CCM with!! There is one English ward in Puerto Rico so there was a guy translating Stake Conference into English on Saturday. I choose to try to catch as much as I could and just listen in Spanish on Sunday. 

I owe my birthday being amazing to family members and a LDS family we have become close with. Thank you all so, so much for the packages!! Aunt Jill's, Grandma Harris', and you guys!! I loved opening them all on my birthday! It made me feel loved and thankful for the amazing family I have!
 I would also like to thank Lynn & Bill, Diane Tingey, Aunt Molly and Grandma Murphy for the letters! It is always amazing to see how everyone is doing!

So the member family we have gotten close to is the Logsdens. The mom and dad are from different parts of Brazil and met at BYU. They are completing dental school here in Puerto Rico. They and their three adorable children are all fluent in three languages!! They are such an inspiration to us. They have already feed us twice, once Thursday and again on Sunday they fed us and four elders! To top off their awesomeness, Sister Logsden, drove us to Costco today so we could go grocery shopping! It is great to feel the love from the members when success in tracting has been so hard.

So our plan this week is to meet all the members active and inactive. We hope that through them they will be able to help us bring others and their friends to Christ’s gospel.

It is amazing the feeling of being a real missionary. It definitely is hard, but I know that every second is worth it. I have been on my knees so much talking to my Heavenly Father. It has been an incredible testimony builder to be able to feel his love for each and every person on this earth!! I know that this is the true church on the earth and that Heavenly Father wants each of his children to return to him. 

I love you all and hope you have a fantastic week! Don't forget to hit your knees and pray to your Heavenly Father. He wants to hear from you!

con amor siempre

Hermana Harris

I leave the MTC September 9th

Answering questions!

How is missionary life?

It is amazing and strange, haha. It is really weird to always be required to have someone with you at every moment of the day. But hey the nice thing is you never feel like you are alone. Studying the gospel and Spanish all day long is amazing. My scriptural and gospel knowledge has grown so much in the last couple of months.

Relationships with companions?

 Amazing! I honestly feel like these two girls, Hermana Bauyon and Hermana Schwenke, will be life long friends. I have grained such a great love for these sisters. I am so grateful for both of them and their incredible examples in my life.


 mi espaƱol es muy bueno. jajaj My Spanish is getting better and better with everyday! This week we have, officially as of yesterday, learned all of the Spanish grammar.  Learned yes, understand it all, no. haha.  It will come with more practice. 


It is sticky and hot all day long here. Lately we have had rain every single day. It does not rain very long, but when it does, it comes down! Plus we have major thunder and lightening storms. Oh, by the way I can't remember if I told you this but the power/electricity stinks here. Every time it rains the power goes out. hahaha. They have back up generators going so the computers stay on but the lights go out. It is hilarious when we are in the middle of teaching an investigator at night, and we have to wait 3-5 minutes in the dark. It is a tad bit awkward! :)

I leave the MTC September 9th at 4:30 a.m. here in Dominican Republic. So that would be around 2:30 a.m. in Montana. I am assuming, because I don't exactly know, that I will fly straight to Puerto Rico. Its possible that I will get to write a tiny letter saying I got here safely.  If not the next time I write will be the following Monday.

Mission plaque scripture? 2 Nephi 30:8 

Last question? Yes, mom I write in my journal every single night. It is a habit now! :)

Okay, so first with my week.  Last Friday we got to go on splits with the West missionaries!! It was amazing experience. My companion was Hermana Rivera she is fluent in Spanish and speaks a little English. She is from Guatemala. She was so sweet. She had four appointments for us to do, sadly though three of the appointments fell through because the people weren't home. At one of the houses the brother of the investigator was willing to sit down and talk to us. He told us all about his life. Apparently it is very common in the DR for people to be really open and share everything. He told us all about his lack of a job. We were able to share with him a message about Christ and our Heavenly Father that is just waiting to bless him if he follows the commandments and goes to church. It was amazing! My companion did most of the talking but asked for my input and my testimony. After that we hit the streets talking to everyone we saw and just inviting them to church! It was so amazing to see my companion go from Spanish/English with me to straight Spanish in seconds to someone on the street. I can't wait for a couples months in the field so I can do the same thing!
While we were knocking doors I was really paying attention to what was going on around me. First, can I say, wow, I am so grateful to be an American! It was so incredibly different to see the night and day difference. CCM or missionary training center feels close to home normal, then walking in the city the feel is definitely a third world country. It was a major shock. We knocked on doors that I never would have thought was a house. We went up staircases that I thought my weight would break. I saw roofs of houses staying up only because of the cinder blocks on the top. There was so much garbage in the streets that I had to watch every step I took. It is amazing in a place of so much poverty that the people look so happy. The women here during the rain stick grocery bags on their heads so it doesn't frizz their hair. It was hilarious the first time I saw it!

Last week at the CCM! I am so excited and ready to be in the field. Even more excited to be finally in Puerto Rico. I have started to love the people of DR but I know that the people Puerto Rico are the ones I am called to serve. 

Sorry it is sort of a short letter but lots of pictures to come. I will take more on splits this Friday when we go again. Only had the opportunity to take one this past time.

Te amor 

Hermana Harris

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Hey familia!!

So glad to hear the family is doing well! Glad you got my pictures! So glad to hear you got more preschoolers!!

So is cheer going well? Loved seeing all the wet pictures and the girls at the voyager’s game!

I want to be a cardboard cut out at Jaren’s wedding!! :)

(Haleigh was asked if there was anything she would like for her birthday coming up soon)

There isn't really anything I am dying to have yet, but that might change when I get into the field.

(A friend posted from Puerto Rico that some mission apartments had to be cleaned due to bed bugs)
Scary, to think I might get an apartment with bed bugs!! Can I say gross!! Ha ha, oh well.

Well this week has been an eye opener! I can definitely see how much I am progressing in Spanish. This week for the first time I gave a whole lesson in complete Spanish with no script or notes to help. We were teaching on the Holy Ghost and Baptism. I spoke completely from my heart and the Spanish just came to me. That was a big testimony to me of the strength of the spirit, and a mini example of the gift of tongues. That same lesson we committed our first investigator to baptism. It is amazing feeling, even if you know the investigator is only your teacher, to know that someone made the choice to drawer closer to Christ by following him into the waters of baptism. It was a very fulfilling to see the work that I am doing go somewhere. I can't hardly imagine how it is going to feel when I see someone I taught go full circle and actually be baptized. 

One super happy moment this week was I received a Mountain Dew!! HAHAHA So our teacher in the noche made us a deal. He told us that IF each day all seven of us commit to 54 words, 13 phrases, 1 scripture, 2 grammar forms, and 8 hours of all Spanish then he would go find and buy Mtn. dew for each one of us! I felt my Spanish knowledge grow so much while we were sticking to this deal. In the end learning that much more Spanish was honestly better then drinking the Mtn. dew. But I definitely drank it and thought of my daddy! 

Sundays are officially my favorite day of the week! The spirit is so strong ever day but it is worlds of difference on Sundays. This Sunday in our doctrinal class taught by President Freestone we talked about the Plan of Salvation. It was amazing to take it into the depths he did, and to hear everyone’s questions. It honestly made me incredibly grateful for Brother Fairhurst, and that I was able to attend seminary everyday. The questions people asked, I am proud to have already had that gospel knowledge, and not be still in confusion. That night my companions starting asking me gospel questions, I was so happy to be able to be lead by the spirit and the knowledge that I already had answers to all their questions.

:) On Sunday my district decided because it was the 25th and officially four months till Christmas that we would sing Christmas songs all day!! Oh my it made me realize I will have no snow for Christmas!! Weird to even think about hahah. But hey four months till I see all of your smiling faces! And a new addition to our family! I can't wait to see Mr. and Mrs. Jaren Harris! :)

So every Tuesday has a devotional in the mornings. This week we got to listen to a taped recording of Elder Holland talking back in May! It was incredible!!!!! He put my perspective on being a missionary in a way different view. He talked about our missionary purpose and went into detail line by line. What hit me the most was when he talked about the Holy Ghost. He put it this way, “it is to the same caliber to walk with Jesus and Heavenly Father as it is the Holy Ghost.” We have the opportunity to have a member of the Holy Godhead with us every single minute of everyday! How great of a blessing is that!? It just was exactly what I needed to hear that day. Not only did Heavenly Father send me and everyone his only begotten son to atone for our sins, but he also sent His son to be my constant companion to pick me up when I am down and bring peace to my heart. :)

So I am so, so excited, tomorrow is a huge day! After lunch until 8 o'clock I get to go on splits with missionaries in the East DR mission!!!! I am so, so excited, nervous and ready!! So I promise next week I will tell lots about that! It is definitely going to be an adventure!

That’s all for this week. Pictures to come! 

Love always, Hermana Harris