Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Reaching Goals Feels so Great

Dear Family,
First of all, I am happy to report that this week I FINALLY GOT MY BIRTHDAY PACKAGE YOU SENT LAST JULY AND ALSO MY CHRISTMAS PACKAGE!!  THANKS!!!!!!!  My birthday package only took 8 months and my Christmas box only 4!!  haha. I have no idea where they have been, but it was so FUN getting them and opening them up!  It was like my birthday and Christmas all in one!  I love you guys!  Thanks!  

Also, I'm sorry no pictures again this week.   The computers at this internet cafe are super ghetto and most of them don't have a connector.  I'll send pictures as soon as I'm at a good computer.

This week my companion and I hit our goal and taught ten strong lessons!   We are really happy about it.  Also, we will have a baptism this week!  Oyunjargal, our 16-yr-old investigator, will have her baptism interview tonight and I am sure she will pass!  She is super ready.  Her school exams and whatnot that she had to do in order to graduate are now finished and nothing is holding her back from coming to church. She is so excited and is going to be a great member! This week in our Zone, we will have seven baptisms!  We are so proud and excited, not to mention super motivated!  That means that this month we will have a total of 12 baptisms, one per companionship!  We set that goal last month as a Zone and we are reaching it.  Reaching goals feels so great!
We have a new investigator named Narnaa who is 23.  She lived in Oakland, CA for 7 years and then in London. She speaks perfect English and very little Mongolian...haha.  She moved away from Mongolia at a young age and just returned to Mongolia.   She knows tons about the Church and actually lives right across the street for our church building here. She feels every day that she needs to go inside and just check it out, but has been scared.  She has a son that she says she wants to raise in a religion, and she feels like God is leading her to our Church.  I taught her a lesson over the phone this week, and it was great.  Believe it or not, the Spirit manifests itself even over the phone!   More to come! 
I finished reading the New Testament this week, and am so grateful for the time I set aside to read it.  I learned so much from the life and example of Christ.  As I finished up, I read this scripture and it really hit me and gave me great imagery of the Savior and how He is with me always......It's 2nd Timothy 4:17, "Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. "  Of course, the Lion is the adversary, and in the Bible it talks about how the Lion is trying to destroy us.  I know He is with me and He delivers me from the Lions in my life.  He strengthens me to do my calling and be a better Zone Leader every day, a calling for which I feel not always qualified for.   I know He is by my side and trusts me, and that is why I have been given the calling as a Missionary, a trainer, and a Zone Leader. I know He raises me higher than I could ever imagine doing myself.  I love the New Testament and I know I will read it again.
Well, my Companion is flying out to the MTC in the Philippines on Wednesday, so I will have a new companion for a few weeks, but as of now, I don't know who.  More on that next week.
I love you guys!
Elder Harris 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Members are the Key to Missionary Work


Hey how are you!   We totally had a great week this week!  Numbers were not too high, but we did some solid missionary work, for which we are very grateful. We were able to reach Oyunjargal (our 16-yr-old investigator) and teach some great lessons to her.  But the sad thing is, she didn't come to church again this week because of school.  Postponing baptisms is terrible.  But all is well, and we will continue to work hard to help her.  She definitely has a testimony, but that "leap of faith" has just not come yet.  We found a new investigator too!   A 19-year-old guy named Bold.  He is a great kid, and just came to church with a friend.  We met twice, and totally "cliff-hangered" him after teaching him about the apostasy.   He actually said,  "There has to be only one true church! That only makes sense!"  More to come on him, but he is great, and he is the best kind of investigator to who is talkative and is truly wanting to find the truth.   

Also, this week we worked tons with members, something that was hard for us for the first little bit, but now members are letting us in, and starting to trust us with their non-member friends.  I love that!  There is no other way for missionary work to be successful than through members.  So, this past Sunday my companion and I decided to write down 10 names of active members before we went to Sacrament Meeting, ones who we planned on talking to and get some lessons with.  I took 5 names, my companion took 5, and we got 7 out of that who confirmed to having us over to teach lessons during this past week.  We had some really great experiences with these families and we are getting referrals from them.   We will continue that this week.  At first, it was hard getting in member's doors, but we were really blessed this past week.

In 9 days, my companion leaves for the MTC in the Philippines.  Remember I told you that he hadn't been to an MTC yet, nor has he been to the temple yet.  He will do both while in the Philippines.  I don't know who my companion will be, but I am thinking another mini-missionary.  I feel like I will continue to be a Trainer for the next little while, as well as being a Zone Leader.  Please pray for our mission and our missionaries.  Satan is real.  We are low in numbers, about 66 missionaries total, but we are all working hard to press forward, even with the things being put in our way to stop us by the adversary.   More on that at another time.

During my mission, I have learned so much from President Benson and have gained a huge testimony about "Not Getting Offended."  Just know that I will give this sermon when I get home.  Please read, "And Nothing Will Offend Them," by Elder Bednar from October 2006. Wow, three words....Offense is Sin.

This week, let us all forgive our debtors, so we can receive forgiveness from our Heavenly Father.

Love you all,

Elder Harris 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Looking for the Fruits of our Labor

Hey Family,
How are you guys?  I loved your emails and pictures.  I am so happy to hear that you guys are all alive and doing well!  Looks like Idaho was fun!  This week was really difficult so this might be a short email.  We only have one investigator and we are having to push her baptism back probably about 2 weeks because she was "not able to meet" (a.k.a. burned us hard) with every planned lesson this week.  She also didn't come to church, so we need to find out what is going on.  We need to find out and understand her needs and why she is bailing out on us lately.  We are disappointed about it, but just trying to rely on the Spirit and the will of the Lord to tell us when and how to proceed.  Please pray for us to know how to help her.
Other than that, we have no investigators, which is a bummer. We are working hard, meeting with members and trying to find more investigators, but the fruits of our labors are not showing yet.  It is really difficult, as I'm sure you can understand.  It is hard to look at the other two elders in our Branch who are just soaring and teaching tons of lessons and investigators at church and not feel bad, or get down about yourself.  I am trying my very best to be a good trainer and not let my companion down, but that is sometimes difficult under the present circumstances.  We are working hard though, but sometimes I feel like my companion thinks we are being lazy seeing that we have no one to meet with as of late, and when I enforce rules that cause us to study for 5 hours a day, it makes it worse because then we are just in the house, the place every missionary hates to be.  We want to be out finding and teaching.  I am not as sad as this email might sound, just so you know. So don't worry about me.  I  am doing good, but we are just having a hard time.  Keeping positive is the only way out!  
Love you all,
Elder Harris

I realized that I took no pictures this week so I hurried and snapped this one of Elder Moore at the net cafe typing our emails home.  Sorry.  I'll do better next week.

Another elder shared this photo of all of us riding in a bus during Tsagaan Sar.  

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Goal Setting, Organizing, and Changing

Dear Family,
Well this week there was nothing too exciting happening out here in Mongolia.  It is not super cold anymore. Haha!  But this past week, transfers took place, and I am still training Elder Bilgvvn and in the Sansar Branch.  This week I did an exchange with Elder Papenfuss and we laid down some amazing goals for ourselves for the time we have remaining on our mission, and for after the mission, regarding who we want to be for our whole life, and what kind of life we want to have (all in spiritual terms).  My new "goal" scripture is D&C 88:119:  "Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God."  I have also made a "mission statement" for myself, detailing very clearly what I am setting out to do.  I really love the opportunity we have to change ourselves on our mission.  It is not really explainable in words, but it is an amazing blessing and something only our Heavenly Father and our Savior could have divinely set up so many years ago. I was afraid of change two years ago, but now change is my being. Without it, we are flat lining, and flat lining in the medical field means death. Kind of harsh, but true!!!  We ought to always be changing ourself, improving, and our Natural Man becoming more like our Savior.  It is the pursuit of a lifetime, so we all better get started! 

Oyunjargal, our 16 year old investigator, will have her baptismal interview this Saturday!  She is so close!  Please pray for her!  We have many other investigators now, but the tough thing is getting them to keep their appointments with us.  We are just working hard on getting Oyunjargal baptized, but we are still working to get others on the same path too.  I'll have more to report next week about the rest of our investigators.   

Love you all!

Elder Harris

Here I am on exchanges.  Behind us is a huge statue of Genghis Khan here in Ulaanbaatar.  The statue is about 130 feet tall and is the tallest and largest horse statue in the world.   It is so awesome up close!