Monday, July 20, 2015

Being More Christ Like

Dear Family,

This week was really good.  Nalaikd nalaj l bnaa!  I am liking Nalaikh more and more each day as we meet members and get into people’s homes.  Elder Dulguun and I have had a great time together.  I have two really great stories this week. One from the scriptures and one from missionary life.   I’ll just start with what I learned this week from the scriptures. This was just a great week with amazing personal studies, so please bear with me.

Lets start in Alma 31. Alma and his brethren are heading down to meet the apostate Zoramites.

6 Therefore he took Ammon, and Aaron, and Omner; and Himni he did leave in the church in Zarahemla; but the former three he took with him, and also Amulek and Zeezrom, who were at Melek; and he also took two of his sons.

7 Now the eldest of his sons he took not with him, and his name was Helaman; but the names of those whom he took with him were Shiblon and Corianton; and these are the names of those who went with him among the Zoramites, to preach unto them the word.

I read this and just say to myself, “Lets go!" and just think of of as like, “First Team All-Missionary!”  They were heading out with just a band of brothers to bring the Zoramites back into the truth.  All-Star team for sure!  Just a squad of Missionaries ready for anything. Then later in the chapter, Alma prays unto the Lord saying:

32 O Lord, wilt thou comfort my soul, and give unto me success, and also my fellow laborers who are with me—yea, Ammon, and Aaron, and Omner, and also Amulek and Zeezrom, and also my two sons—yea, even all these wilt thou comfort, O Lord. Yea, wilt thou comfort their souls in Christ.

33 Wilt thou grant unto them that they may have strength, that they may bear their afflictions which shall come upon them because of the iniquities of this people.

Alma prays for his brotheren. He asks for success, and strength for his brethren. He loved them enough to pray for them by name and ask for their souls to be safe in Christ. I LOVED that!!

36 Now it came to pass that when Alma had said these words, that he clapped his hands upon all them who were with him. And behold, as he clapped his hands upon them, they were filled with the Holy Spirit.

This immediately reminded me of a coach giving a pep talk before the game to his high school football team. He finished speaking, and clapped his hands upon them. He just got his troops fired up, and their blood pumping!  He was ready to go to war with his brethren. Together, with one cause, in the Lord!  They were ready, and the Spirit fell upon them. Like walking out of the locker room to the sound of the drum line playing, carrying your team’s flag!   I am getting pumped just typing about it!

37 And after that they did separate themselves one from another, taking no thought for themselves what they should eat, or what they should drink, or what they should put on.

But then they went off, not caring about themselves. Not seeking their own, all for one and one for all, for one cause, having faith that the Lord would give them the victory.
I loved this story, and it really applied to things that I need to learn in the next 4 months. Thanks for listening :)
Now the story from this week in the mission field:   So this week we were teaching a lesson in a ger, with the door open.  The ger is just in an open field, not fenced.  A drunk comes through, throws a rock at something, and the dogs start attacking him!  The family we were with and the families from the surrounding two gers roll out and just tell their little kids to grab the dogs.   So little kids are just trying to tackle the dogs and are holding them by their tails to save this drunk man. The drunk starts mouthing off and eventually leaves.  Then, not far away at all, he gets into some random man's face on the little dirt trail, and that guy just sucker punches the drunk in the face.  Well it was hard to get back into the lesson.  Nalaik has more drunks than I have ever seen in my mission.  Like hundreds. Really sad.  The branch president showed me a great example this week by taking a drunk man (homeless too) into the church, and giving him a jacket to stay warm at night and an invite to come to church. That really hit me.  A true lesson on how to be more Christ like.


Elder Harris

Seeing a little kid in a Willie Mays Giants Jersey in a Ger District in Nalaik Mongolia……Priceless!  This needs to be on Rob Green’s wall. 

Elder Dulguun and I in our new area, Nalaikh (about an hour bus ride from UB).

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


Сайхан Наадав уу?

Okay so this past week was awesome!   Mongolia celebrated Naadam, the biggest festival of the year!!  There are three main events, or competitions:  Mongolian Wrestling, Archery, and Horse racing.   I’ll just Bullet Point it out for you:

* Wearing Naadam clothes (shirt, hat, boots) was easily THE best part of each day.  Every day, people we passed just looked at us missionaries and made comments about how dapper we Americans looked in traditional Mongolian clothing!   When I get older (45+), I am wearing Naadam shirts like everyday!  They allow the nicest air flow to come in and cool you right down, while protecting you from the sun.  I love Mongolia for so many reasons but a huge reason on the list is because of the spirit that National Clothing brings to the table.  I don’t think America has that!  Almost everyone here wears a Deel (a traditional Mongolian shirt), a cowboy-style hat and boots.  Even the women and children.  I took so many pictures of people’s clothing on Saturday just for ideas in the future when I hit that "50 year old dad stage."  Most married couples also wear matching outfits like Sadie Hawkins.  They all are just so good looking in their Nadaam clothes!   I can’t wait to wear my Naadam boots in America all the time.

* Huushuur is the National Naadam Food, and man was it just soooo dang good!  Huushuur is like a pastry or dumpling with meat in it (usually mutton or beef) and then deep fried. There are a few members here who own a food place (kind of like a taco fast food place) called Comino Taco.  They put up a huushuur tent and fed us missionaries great!  I think I had six total!

* We were able to get into the Opening Ceremony for Naadam and stay until the Bayanzurkh Branch President wrestled.  He got thrown.  Mongolian wrestling has no weight classes.  It is pure cut throat, man on man, last one standing style, and it can go on for like two days straight, until they get a champion. The champion then becomes the most respected man in the country for LIFE.  Like free cars, apartments, clothes, etc.  This year’s champ was a kid born in 1994.  He was huge!

* So Elder Huckvale and I were on TV!  :)  We were interviewed a total of six times by reporters from the biggest TV stations here.  All of us missionaries were just walking around with our companions and the reporters came up and asked us in English for an interview.  Well when we replied in Mongolian, they freak!   It was so much fun, though.  We even got down onto the field at the big stadium and gave interviews like courtside-style, with the wrestlers behind us going at it.  All in all, it was an experience not to be forgotten!  Last year for Naadam, I was in Choibalsan.  In Choibalsan, Naadam is much smaller than here in Ulaanbaater!

* Elder Huckvale, Shotton, and I sang a Mongolian song on a stage in front of about a few hundred people……With microphones!  There was this guy singing to raise money for this company.  While we were singing, in the matter of like one minute, there was 18 thousand toogs put in the box for these guys.  They were so happy!  They were taking pics of us to put on Facebook to thank us for the help and the money earned.  So fun!

This is a country where you must envelop yourself in the culture or you will just not be respected by Mongolians. I am so grateful to be here and be able to take in the culture and make it part of my life. I love this place so much!

About The Work:  So I have a new companion and we have been transferred to Nalaikh, about an hour bus ride from UB….nice and quiet.  Elder Dulguun (a mini-missionary) is my new companion.  He is the mini-missionary who Munkhbold and I have been with for awhile now.  You asked me what a mini-missionary is?  A mini-missionary lives like a full-time missionary and does everything a full time elder does, but is just not set apart to be a full time representative.  Also, I am no longer the Zone Leader, just normal missionary.  I LOVE working as a normal missionary!   I served as a ZL for about 7 months.  That is a long time in this mission.  I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to serve in the leadership positions I have served in.  It has truly been a huge blessing being able to help others as the Lord would.  President really wants Dulguun to be a full-time missionary asap!  We need him, he is a good, hard worker.   So this is my new assignment. Wish us luck and pray for us!  I know there are many things I need to learn from him, as well.  I am super excited for what lies in store!  Just call me the mini-missionary machine!

Love you all,

Elder Harris

Huckvale and I on the competition field during Naadam.

 Me, Munkhbold, Dulguun, and Shotton, watching the competitions during Naadam.

Me with Mongolia’s president in the background in the blue during Naadam.

All the soldiers dressed in warrior gear during Naadam!

Huckvale and I with all the little dancer girls during Naadam.

Me and a SWAT officer during Naadam.

 Naraa, my sponsor, during Naadam!

Huckvale and I being interviewed by TV reporters during Naadam.  We are famous!  HaHa!

 The field where the competitions are held.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Heavenly Father lives. He is real. He knows us and loves us.

Dear Family!

So before I start this letter.... I just want to say that I love America, and am so happy to see all the many pictures of Red White and Blue this week in my email box.  But I Love Mongolia so much too, and I would rather be here than there right now in my life.   Minii tsag arai boloogvi shvv!

So this week was pretty hot here in good old Ulaanbaatar. My group Sisters left for home along with Elder Papenfuss and Ericcson....two great friends. Saying goodbye was good and they will be great on the "other side!"  Well this transfer Elder Munkhbold and I will be together again, and we are staying in Sansar!  LETS GO! I was pumped to see that transfer call sheet and see that we are still together. We are so great together, and we just get work done!  There are less and less Missionaries here. Pray for our Mission!  Our number is in the 50s. Only a few years ago, we were in the 200+  range. We need missionaries now, and we need the ones who are here to go all in for the time being. Please pray for Mongolia.

We should have a baptism here in a few weeks. She is the best friend of the girl we baptized last week. She is progressing great. I love investigators that don't believe in God, or have never even thought about religion before. Introducing the Restored Gospel to them, then to just see their brain start going, the Spirit start working, and the desire to know more and more just makes me feel so accomplished. I love this work, and the people we are working with right now.

Last week I went on a split to Nalaikh with Elder Palmer. On the way there, Elder Shotton and I, the elder who went with me, a 6 foot 3, bean pole from Berkley, were harassed and almost jumped for an 1.5 hour bus ride by a Mongolian Army Soldier and his friend. I have never really been scared before on my mission, but this time I felt in danger.  I gained a re-confirmation that the Lord protects his Elders. He loves us, and knows us.   We prayed, a lot. We ended up singing them a Mongolian song about Mothers to buy some time. I am so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father. He lives. He is real. He knows us and loves us. He wants to hear from us, and in that time of desperate need, He does answer our prayers.

I love you all!

Elder Harris
My 4th of July Entry pic! 

My group sisters are leaving for home.  Their 18 months are up!

 In Nalaikh.

Elder Palmer and I in Nalaikh.  Elder Palmer is from Henderson too.  Went to Coronado HS.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Life in the Mission is Good!


Well looks like we you guys are just having the best time of your lives out there in Yellowstone! Jealous. When I get married, can we go again? I just love seeing pics of America. So beautiful.

This week was pretty good! I was able to take down a Mongolian Ger and build it again for my sponsor Ukraine Naraa, and that was so much fun! Hopefully in the next 5-10 years or so I can have a Ger of my own!  All in all, super fun to learn the ways of the Mongols. This week also was Sister Hansen's (from my group) last district meeting before they all go home on Thursday. That being said, we had a huge pot luck and surprise party for her at district meeting. I will surely miss my group Sisters. See them in 6 months, though. This week we also had the last fireside doing our "Musical" thing. I will miss singing every Thursday and Sunday nights across the city at different church buildings.  We also had a baptism!  Friday Sunjee was baptized!  My camera died, so the pictures are on Sister Hansen's camera.  I will try to get them from her asap! 

Funny Stories of the Week:

My companion totally walked into a street sign with his head... I was dying laughing! 

I sat on a wild camel!  Wild...No owner!  Up in the mountains.  It freaked out a little bit but cooperated long enough for the picture. HUMP DAY! 

My companion walked up to a black man on the street and said, "What's up" (In English!). I was laughing so hard.  Laughing on the inside!  So I came up and introduced ourselves, and he was willing to talk for a little bit.  My companion was just in shock!  Smiling ear to ear, staring at this man as I talked to him!  He had never heard a black man talk before!  He finally introduced himself and said, "My name is Elder Eternal Steel," but the man didn't understand. Well, we talked a little more, and in closing my companion said something to the man that we American missionaries had taught him (from a rap song).  The guy just mean-mugged him head to toe, so I quickly stepped in and said that he (my comp) really likes rap and that phrase is the only thing he remembered in the whole song, and that he wasn't trying to act tough..... Kind of funny defending a Mongolian who speaks ZERO English, yet can spurt out bits and pieces of a rap song!  As we walked away my comp couldn't stop talking about the man. He found him so fascinating! Remember he grew up in a little Ger in the middle of no where Mongolia! I love my companion! 

Transfers are tonight! We will see what happens! Got a feeling I'm staying put! 

Also, my permanent retainer broke this week... yup. Also I chipped a little corner of my right K9 tooth. I was just eating a little piece of candy from the Doctor's office... Why is this happening to me!


Elder Harris Loves You!


Fishing in Choibalsan.

 Elder Hill, me, and a sister in the Choibalsan the Branch.

Look what I caught fishing with Ganbayar and Elder Hill!