Monday, June 29, 2015

I am a Mormon

Hey Family!!!

It’s transfer time!! After six months in Ponce it is time to say Adios!! I am getting transferred tomorrow to Juana Diaz... a whole-whapping 30 minutes away. So I will be in the same Zone, with the same leaders but different area and district!! I am seriously so excited for my new adventure. I won't lie when they first told me; I thought it was a joke. Hahaha! My companion is Sister Olsen, from Utah. She has been out for about 4 1/2 months in the mission. She just finished her training the same time as my baby did!! I am super nervous as I am for every new companion but ready for the next adventure! I already know that part of the reason that I have been called to serve there is for the less-actives. I literally love visiting less-actives so so much! There is so much spirit and hope to visiting them. Its like in Helaman 5:

“35 Now there was one among them who was a Nephite (less-active) by birth, who had once belonged to the church of God but had dissented from them.  
36 And it came to pass that he turned him about, and behold, he saw through the cloud of darkness the faces of Nephi (Sister Harris) and Lehi (Sister Pardo); and behold, they did shine exceedingly, even as the faces of angels. (being filled with the spirit) And he beheld that they did lift their eyes to heaven; and they were in the attitude as if talking or lifting their voices to some being whom they beheld(praying for guidance)…..

 38 And they said unto the man (the less-active): Behold, what do all these things mean, and who is it with whom these men do converse? (Do you remember? Do you remember the light of Christ in your life?)  
39 Now the man’s name was Aminadab. And Aminadab said unto them: They do converse with the angels of God. (I do remember)  
40 And it came to pass that the Lamanites (the family of the less-active) said unto him: What shall we do, that this cloud of darkness may be removed from overshadowing us? (How can we become like that?)
41 And Aminadab said unto them: You must repent, and cry unto the voice, even until ye shall have faith in Christ, who was taught unto you by Alma (your missionaries), and Amulek, and Zeezrom; and when ye shall do this, the cloud of darkness shall be removed from overshadowing you. (The light of Christ can be seen in your life.)
42 And it came to pass that they all did begin to cry unto the voice of him who had shaken the earth; yea, they did cry even until the cloud of darkness was dispersed. (They came back to church and worked on being worthy again.)”

We had an amazing thing happen the other week. We were walking a route we have walked I think more then a hundred times, when we passed by a lady that I had never seen before. We just started to contact her. She got a little shy and said “well, of course, I know who the Mormons are, I got baptized in that church." I was literally in shock. She wasn't in our ward lists, none of the members know who she is, but she has photos of when she was baptized... wait for it…. 34 years ago!!! She has to be one of the first members of the church here in Puerto Rico or at least in the first 10 years that the church was here!! Since then we have stopped by to visit her. Literally, I love hearing the stories that the members have of what happened in their lives to have them be ready for baptism. The sad part of the story of my mission is that we need to fix why they left. It really is amazing to see that it doesn't matter how many years that a member hasn't attended church, they always remember their baptism! It was amazing to sit in a room and feel the spirit so strong when they begin to tell us all about the missionaries that taught them, the trials that they were going through, and the peace the gospel brought to there lives!!

I know that I was called to Puerto Rico to not only find the people that are waiting to hear this message but also to rescue the lost sheep! I know without a doubt that our Heavenly Father loves when his sheep come back to the fold. Christ went looking for the 1 out of the 99. He found me and sent me here to find the 1 out of the Puertican 100. I am so honored to be able to be doing this work here. I know that without a doubt that this is Heavenly Fathers plan for me. I know that everyday I can grow closer to my Savior though doing his work. I know that Christ lives!! I know there really is joy in the heavens everyday when you triumph over a trial and pass Satan’s tricks on our way to come back to our Father! I am a Mormon, I love it, I live it, and I know it!!!!

I hope you all have a fabulous week and don't forget to hit your knees and hit the books because the only way our Heavenly Father can open the blessings for you is if you do your part!!

Con Amor Siempre,

Hermana Harris

Monday, June 22, 2015

Father's Day

Hey family!!!

Happy Fathers Day!!
I just want to give a huge shout out to the best dad in the world, an incredible brother, and the best brother-in-law!!! I am so happy that each one of you are in my life!

Daddy, I will always be so grateful for your love and friendship that you have given me! You really are the best father that we four kids could have asked for! You have given us everything while asking little in return. I know that I personally will always have a friend, a leader, and a hero in you. Daddy, I love you so much! This week I have been reading in Alma, I was reading all about my dad in chapter 48:

“11 And Jeffrey was a strong and a mighty man; he was a man of a perfect understanding; yea, a  man that did not delight in bloodshed; a man whose soul did joy in the liberty and the freedom of  his country(being in the air force), and his brethren from bondage and slavery;
12 Yea, a man whose heart did swell with thanksgiving to his God (always serving in his callings), for the many privileges and blessings which he bestowed upon his people (always helping us four with all of our needs before your own); a man who did labor exceedingly for the welfare and safety of his people (always providing for the needs of our family).
13 Yea, and he was a man who was firm in the faith of Christ (a testimony where I used to form my own), and he had sworn with an oath to defend his people (when he was married for time and all eternity to raise us and love our mama), his rights, and his country, and his religion, even to the loss of his blood (I know that I can depend on you for everything).”

It was so amazing for me to see that my daddy was all of this! I have a father that has guided me in the Gospel, a father that has been a leader in our home who has led us to be our best, that has never given up on us, a father that even when we are all being pains showed us his love. I know without a doubt that I have the best father in the world.
Daddy, I will never forget the rides in the car. I learned so much about life, future, and any random topic just driving from our house to work. I know that these will be memories that I will cherish for life. I remember when we were all little and living on base. I loved to sing in primary the song:

I'm so glad when daddy comes home,
Glad as I can be;
Clap my hands and shout for joy,
Then climb upon his knee,
Put my arms around his neck,
Hug him tight like this,
Pat his cheeks, then give him what?
A great big kiss.

 I remember those days that you would get home around 4:30, waiting at the front door to see your car come up was one of my greatest excitements of the day. I loved running up to you to give you great big hug! Daddy, I am so grateful for those hugs. And I can't wait for an even bigger hug in 7 months!!

This time of year is when we can really come to reflect on the blessing that is in our lives. I received a huge blessing from my Father in Heaven in the form of my daddy! I know that our Father in Heaven is always waiting for us to reach out to him to deliver more blessings. I just want to testify that having a family is one of the first blessings our Father in Heaven gave us. We didn't have to work for it, we didn't need to be worthy to receive it, but he gave it to us. We now have the chance to be worthy to stay with our family. I know that each day everyone of us can make the right decisions to return back to our Heavenly Father in the celestial kingdom and be together as a family. We can be the supporting beams for the others but there is a time that we have to stand on our own. Just like when we were little and Dad would be running with us as we would ride our bikes. There is a point he will let us go. We make the choice to fall or keep on going!!

I love you all and hope that you all have an amazing day!! And don't ever forget we have the best Father in the World!!

Con Amor Siempre,

Hermana Harris

Monday, June 15, 2015

Holy Sabbath Day

Hey family!!
Happy Birthday Hannah!!!!!!
I hope you have a fabulous birthday and my big brother spoils you like a princess!! 

As for my week, it was amazing!! We saw so many blessings from fasting!! I have to say I really have gained a true testimony on how the blessings can really pour in when we fast and pay our fast offerings. We have found so many people to teach and so many people that need this gospel!

We also had an amazing zone conference!! There was a couple themes but the parts that I loved the most were when Sister Boucher talked about the fast and the Sabbath day! She was so inspired. We talk all about how a lot of people have the wrong idea about the Sabbath day. One phrase I loved that she used was that the Sabbath day isn't our gift to Christ and Heavenly Father but it is their gift to us. It is the one day that they give us to rest from our labors. They knew long ago that our weeks would be so jam-packed that we need a Sunday. We need a day to not think about school or work. But also its not a day to just chill but it is a day to serve the Lord by serving others. This is the day that we can show to everyone in the world that we love one another! 

Haleigh's favorite Grandpa in Ponce!

She calls this the Eddie face!

When we were talking about the fast, it really touched me the most to know that we can share so much more with others that really need it. I see people on the street everyday just begging for food, children that go without a good meal in weeks, I have seen someone where the same clothes for a week because no one offered them a little water to wash what they had. Every time I have the chance to pay my offering, I think of these people. Yes, I might not be able to offer much, but it is the little that counts. Its not like I wouldn't have spend the money on the food anyways so I'm not losing anything. We only gain blessings as we pay our offerings.

So another blessing that I saw come out of this conference is a new initiative that our area is doing. Now, we cannot teach a wife without her husband, kids without parents. So we have been working for forever with a less-active/active. She has a lot of doubts with the doctrine and things. We told her that the church is for families not just of individuals and that we want to help her family. We had a lesson with her husband (not a member), her daughter (active), her son-in-law (not member), and her other daughter (less-active). It was the most amazing and spiritual experience to see this family growing together in this gospel!! We are here in families for a reason and it is to return as families!! :) I love my family so much and can't wait to give you all hugs!! Now I hope daddy has an amazing Father's day and just know you are the most amazing dad anyone could ask for!! We love you!

Have a great week!!

Con Amor Siempre,

Hermana Harris

PS. I become more and more of an Oreo everyday!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Missionary Work & The Atonement

Hola Mi Quierdo Familia!!!!

Pues, mi semana fui un poquito dificil. Oh! Sorry, my week was a little hard. On this part of the world, everyone was in vacations, getting ready for graduation, or had like summer fever. It felt like we walked more this week then I have in so, so long.

We went from investigators, to less-actives, to recent converts, to old investigators with no avail. But I learned something very important this week. Endure to the end!!! Wow, it really got to points in the day that we would sit down because our feet felt like they were saying 'no more, no more'. I have only been at this point a few times after my first area. This might sound a little crazy but I really am grateful for these weeks. These are the weeks and the days that make every other week triumph sweeter. It makes those moments when the investigator is progressing more joyful. It makes the times that you find the golden investigator feel like the greatest moment in your life. It is times like this week make the mission something that is not only a testimony builder, but a life-changing event.

 I never would have imagined before a moment in my life that I really wanted to cry because someone else was not taking their salvation seriously. I could never have imagined how much joy it brings to my heart to see someone receive the priesthood. Or to know that someone is working their way to reuniting their family once again in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Every day it is hard, I remember those moments and it gets me through the day. Also, a talk by Jeffery R. Holland is my inspiration to keep on walking, talking, and trying.
Elder Holland: Missionary Work and the Atonement!!

Anyone who does any kind of missionary work will have an occasion to ask, “why is this so hard? Why can’t our success be more rapid? Why aren’t there more people joining the Church? Why isn’t the only risk in missionary work that of pneumonia from being soaking wet all day and all night in the baptismal font?”

I have thought about this a great deal. I offer this as my personal feeling. 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 Great Eternal Head. How could we believe it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him? It seems to me that missionaries and mission leaders have to spend at least a few moments in Gethsemane. Missionaries and mission leaders have to take at least a step or two toward the summit of Calvary.

Now, please don’t misunderstand. I’m not talking about anything anywhere near what Christ experienced. That would be presumptuous and sacrilegious. But I believe that missionaries and investigators, to come to the truth, to come to salvation, to know something of this price that has been paid, will have to pay a token of that same price.
For that reason, I don’t believe missionary work has ever been easy, nor that conversion is, nor that retention is, nor that continued faithfulness is. I believe it is supposed to require some effort, something from the depths of our soul.

If He could come forward in the night, kneel down, fall on His face, bleed from every pore, and cry, “Abba, Father (Papa), if this cup can pass, let it pass,” and then little wonder that salvation is not an easy thing for us. If you wonder if there isn’t an easier way, you should remember you are not the first one to ask that. Someone a lot greater and a lot grander asked a long time ago if there wasn’t an easier way.

When you struggle, when you are rejected, when you are spit upon and cast out, you are standing with the best life this world has ever known, the only pure and perfect life ever lived. You have reason to stand tall and be grateful that the Living Son of the Living God knows all about your sorrows and afflictions. The only way to salvation is through Gethsemane and on to Calvary. The only way to eternity is through Him—the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

I testify that the living God is our Eternal Father and that Jesus Christ is His living and Only Begotten Son in the flesh. I testify that this Jesus, who was slain and hanged on a tree, lives. The whole triumph of the gospel is that He lives, and because He does, so will we.

This really is my favorite missionary talk of all time. To imagine the Savior in agony is what makes missionary work worth it. He was the greatest example. He was and is the reason that we are here. I have gained a much great respect and love for my Savior then I ever had before. I know that my Savior lives and loves each and every one of us! I know that he suffered for not only my sins but for the hard times, for every tear I have split, for every one of the times that I felt like the world is against me. I know that he is the greatest friend that I can ever gain in this life. I know that through him he made it possible that my family can be eternal! I love my Savior!

I hope you all had a fun time together and just know I love each and every one of you!!
Con Amor Siempre,
Hermana Harris