Thursday, August 27, 2015

What Missionaries Live For!

Dear Family,

So this past Friday, my comp and I had one baptism!   U________ (15 year old girl) was baptized.   She was super happy and ready for it.    U_________’s mother came out to support her, and she seemed to like what she saw. We have a plan to meet with her now that she seems to have opened up more.  Also baptized was the other two Elders' two investigators, and there was also two Branch baptisms, so Nalaikh just added five more to their rolls!    It was a truly a cool sight to see so many people entering the waters of baptism together.  Mashbat, the investigator who we were supposed to baptize, got pushed back.   But that is okay, he is a great guy and still right on track.  This is just what missionaries live for!

My companion and I are doing great. I am grateful in so many ways for the time I have had with him.  It looks like we will be splitting up here this week when transfers come out.

Saturday, we had a Elders Quorum outing at one of the Branch Sister’s little cabin out of town a little bit. We bought a sheep, (dead and pre-prepared), made Horhog, and just went down to the river while all the brethren “swam.”  I realized that with the lack of organized swim lessons offered by the local recreation center in Mongolia, most men don’t swim well... It was scary.  It was a great activity all in all.  At the end we played basketball against four other random guys who were decent.  They all had cigarettes in their mouths as they played.  I was the only one on my team who could dribble so it was a little un-even.   It was fun, and playing against Mongolians in Basketball really has made my Bball game go away….not that I had game before!!

This week I just want to express gratitude for family:

I am so thankful for a Mother who raised my in the Gospel.  I love you Mom.  No matter how rotten I was, you loved me and were so good to me. You loved me and helped me more than anyone on the road to where I am today.  You were always there through thick, thin, trouble, and sin, and saw me how I know the Savior sees me.  Not as who I was, but as who I could become.  I love you mom and I can't wait to hug you soon.  You remind me of Queen Ester.  Brave and always standing up for the right.  I love that story and it really reminds me of you. Also, I’m looking forward to some good country jam sessions in the car upon my return home!

Dad, you are a man of integrity. I think of how to describe you, and I just think of one word. Man. You are a God fearing man, who raised me right. You were hard on me and I hated it, but now I look back on it with the a humble heart and with more gratitude that I can express. You are honest in your dealings with your fellow man. That is something I will always look up to you for.  I love our relationship, and I can't wait to just learn from you more and more when I get home. Thanks for being my Hero.

I love my two big brothers who were trail blazers for me and showed me how to be successful. Thanks for your missionary service many years ago when I was just a little guy.  I remember you guys on your mission so vividly, and it is truly your push and tough love that got me on my mission.  You two are men of God.  Thanks for being great husbands and fathers. Thanks for loving me and everything I bring to the family table.  I am different than you guys, always have been, but you saw me as a brother who you couldn't leave behind. I will always remember the talk we had before my mission. I love you guys.

I love my Grandma Harris. Thanks for being at every event I have ever had, no matter the flight or drive from the Bay Area. I will always remember you being at everything!  That is the role of a Grandma, isn' it!  Thanks for raising my Dad. I am sure it was stressful at times, but you sure did a great job. Matthew 7 explains this well Grandma….."Ye shall know them by their fruits. Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them."  Thanks for a life of church service Grandma!

Where would I be without my family, and those who helped me get here today?  Well I don't want to know.


Elder Harris

FIVE were baptized in Nalaikh this past Friday.  It is so cool to see so many enter the waters of baptism at the same time.

 Me, my companion, and U___________.  She was so happy and ready.

 At our Elder’s Quorum Activity.   A member making Horhog!

 Mongolia is so beautiful in the summertime.

Cool picture of horses.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Successful Week! Blessings are coming to Nalaikh!


So Family….This was a good week!  I had a great time, but I’m tired!  This lifestyle of being “tired” all the time probably will never end until I get home.  No matter how well I sleep at night, that 8 hours does NOTHING!  Don’t get me wrong!  I LOVE IT THIS WORK and wouldn’t have it any other way.

Stories from this week:

We got the name of a family in the Branch that we needed to go check on.  So we headed over there and just a little girl was home, no adult.  So we told her that we would stop by later, like the next day or so.   Well that night I had the prompting to go back and check on them again and my companion agreed that it was a good idea.  So we went back and the father was out front, and happily let us in!  There were three little happy girls just running around and climbing all over us!  I’m sending you picture of them.  They just loved us and immediately started talking about Sister Della Silva.  She used to meet with them in the first months of her mission, and they fell in love with her blonde hair. To this day they call her Barbie!  I’m sending you a picture of the girls and Sis. Della Silva too.  The mother of these cute little girls is about a 20-year member of the church.  Recently she was put in jail on false charges from what the story is and from what the Branch President says.  She was/is an awesome member.  The father was close to being baptized many times, but he is a smoker and just hasn’t been able to kick it.  He is a great guy though, and just is having a hard time raising these three girls without their mom.  We are taking these little girls to church now, and kind of being a "Big Brother" to them. This story just breaks my heart, but we are so glad to be there to help!  One of the girls is ready for baptism, age-wise.  But we think it is best to wait for their mother to be there so she can take her daughters to church. We are going to be working with the father also, so hopefully that goes well.  What a great little family, such potential. Please pray for this sweet family!

We were in a lesson with a long time member who is known to be a little outspoken and sometimes just rude.   Well, in the first 5 minutes of the lesson she got in my companion’s face and started calling him every bad word in Russian, and was about to slap him.  All over the Baptism activity being being planned for Saturday, not Friday.   Well, I just grabbed his arm and we ran out, got locked in a pitch black hallway to find our shoes and get to the door.  We found the door, it was locked... yup... it was just CRAZY.  We did get out, though.  Kind of funny story.

A man named Mashbat moved to Nalaik from a branch in the city.  His wife Maria is a member, and he is an investigator.  We spent about 2 days unloading his things from a big trailer and building his Ger.  He will be baptized this friday!!!  I am so pumped!  He is so ready and the past Elders did so great with him!   We are just there to finish up!   We are also having another baptism this week. Undarmaa. She is 16 and ready!

This week, we got in a lot of homes and met a lot of people. I loved this past week!  If only every week could be this successful!

Love you,

Elder Harris

Our investigator, Mashbat.  We spend almost 2 days helping him build his ger and getting moved in.  He’s a great guy and will be baptized this Friday

My companion, Elder Dulguun, and me on the outskirts of Nalaikh.

Me and that family of 3 sweet little girls.

 Sister Della Silva (and her companion) and the girls with their mother.  

Did I ever tell you that I sang in a mission choir that traveled around and sang at Firesides?

The view from my apartment window just as the sun is coming up.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Hoping for Great Things this Week!

Dear Family,

This week was rough up until Sunday.  We only could get one lesson a day with one investigator, U_________, a 16 year old girl.  She is great. She was a referral from America actually!  Manchir, a Mongolian Elder serving a full-time mission in Arizona sent it over to us and we started to meet with her a few weeks ago. She is doing great and should have a baptism interview this week. She is reading the Book of Mormon great, and has a testimony of it. I think she will make for a great “fit" with our Young Women’s program in Nalaik.  

Sunday we had a talk with Elder UlziiJargal (one of the other elders serving here) asking for help.  We have checked all people in our area books (phone numbers and addresses) and there is just nothing to work with.  So we decided to ask him for a few people to work with from his book, and he helped us out.  Our Branch President is great, but has not been too helpful the past few weeks with giving us names.   But this Sunday he was able to finally give us names and numbers of all our less actives that need to be met with. That was a relief!  The other members in the Branch have been too busy to have us in their homes yet, but this Sunday they were all willing to let us in this week!  Blessing!!  We had also quite a few new investigators come out to church that we met up with, as well as a less active family that came in!  This coming week will be packed if it goes they way we have planned!  Pray for us!

Other than that that, Sister T_______, who was about to get baptized but had a death in the family a week ago and is no where to be found.  We are praying for her, and were able to see her mother this week.  She says she will be back shortly. 

My companion Elder Dulguun is great!  I love him.  I am grateful to have had such great companions.

Gotta go now.  Love you all,

Elder Harris

Inside a Buddhist monastery.

Inside a Buddhist monastery.

Elder Munkhbold is loving the t-shirts you sent him!

Elder Shotton, me, and Elder Huckvale at Gorkhi Terely in front of Turtle Rock.  Meant to send this last week. 

Mongolian Christmas stockings.

Elder Dulguun, my companion in Nalaikh, is helping me shop for some things for Mom!

Shopping for Mongolian headbands for Kinzie, Addisyn, and Olivia.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Mission Training at Gorkhi Terelj National Park

Dear Family,

Yesterday we had a Elders Retreat out at Gorkhi Terelj National Park all day!   It was great, so today is P-Day.  Sorry if I worried you!

So yesterday, all the Elders loaded up in a bus and two Mission Land Cruisers and headed out to Terelj which is about 1.5 hours northeast from the city.  It is a National Park up in the mountains with tons of rocks that cover the mountains. Truly beautiful!  We had a 3-hour training in a huge ger rented out by President and Sister Benson.  The training was about how to be real men.  It was truly amazing and I walked away really questioning if I am a man or not.  There are many things I need to change and fix in my life.  The basic topic was, “Real men have a firm foundation of integrity that is never shaken. Real men have no price.”  I love my mission president and his wife so much.  Truly called of God for me.

After the training, we played football out in a field.  Elder Huck played QB and I was wide outside.... deadly!  Utah State out!  We also had a few games relating to mission work with egg drops and tower building. All and all, we had a great time!

This past week was difficult at times in the mission field. Not too many lessons taught, I was in bed sick for a day or so, and we were just got burned everywhere we went.  Our baptism was also pushed back due to a death in her family. She also didn't come to church this past Sunday, and we are not able to get in touch with her, so that’s always a bummer.  More to come on that next week. 

I read a talk this week called "A Letter to a Doubter." It really applied to the week we had and to most of our daily lives.  CS Lewis said, "God allows spiritual peaks to subside into often extensive troughs in order for servants to finally become sons standing up on their own legs, to carry out from their will alone, duties which have lost all relish, growing into the sort of creature He wants them to be.” I know trials are needed in this life. We are here to realize our nothingness before God, and become better creatures.  Mosiah 4:11 states just that:   "And again I say unto you as I have said before, that as ye have come to the knowledge of the glory of God, or if ye have known of his goodness and have tasted of his love, and have received a remission of your sins, which causeth such exceedingly great joy in your souls, even so I would that ye should remember, and always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own nothingness, and his goodness and long-suffering towards you, unworthy creatures, and humble yourselves even in the depths of humility, calling on the name of the Lord daily, and standing steadfastly in the faith of that which is to come, which was spoken by the mouth of the angel."

Our Heavenly Father wants us to become as He is.  BECOME…..BOLOH in Mongolian. Not just DO things like Him or do the things that He told us to do. If we don't BECOME like Him, how can we ever inherit all he has promised?  We would be un-proffitable servants to not become independent in this life, solving problems with His help, and waiting patiently for the outcome to happen. Patience grows faith in Him. "Remembering rather than experiencing moves us towards greater independence. God's intention was to make us as independent in our sphere as He is in His. That is why the heavens close from time to time to give us room for self direction." -Brigham Young.

I resolved to Pray harder, fast more often for everyone but me, and to pray for charity and opportunities and trials to emulate the principles in Moroni 7:45 in my daily life. Also to be an  example of the believer in word, conversation, charity, in spirit, in faith, and in purity.  I have been setting daily goals to reach these things and have been doing well. I need to build that foundation of integrity. I need to be honest in all my doings with God and man, and cut out all idle speaking. I am looking to become humble and meek. Two things that have been hard for me. Mostly, I just want to love my companion and those around me, and forget myself.  Easier said than done. I feel that it all starts with charity and Moroni 7:45.  That is what I want to do differently. All of these things will bless the lives of those around me, and bring the Lord’s sheep back into his fold. I need to purify myself. Then will I then be able to reach others. I feel pure, and that I am a good servant, but now it is time to be a man, and just saddle up.

Well, I love my mission. I love my Savior. I want to become like my Father, and inherit all he has for me. Heavens do close, but they always open.  He is always there, but the trails and tests that are given to us are only for our growth and for our experience.  We can all learn for the great Prophet of the Restoration.  Please read D&C 121-123 this week. It might just give you what you need to push through those dark clouds that gloom our days from time to time.

Now only if the rain would stop here in UB... IT IS P-DAY!

Elder Harris

Mission picture in front of Turtle Rock at Gorkhi Terelj National Park

On the ride to Terelj.

My companion, Elder Dulguun, and I.

Elder Huckvale and I at Terelj.

This place was so beautiful!  Look at all the gers in the background.

Two majestic wild horses on top of this hill.

Me standing on my head and Huck flipping!

Mission games.

Handstanding again!  Haha!  But notice the beautiful country and those beautiful horses!

Training inside this huge ger.  I love President Benson and his family!

Fancy lunch inside a fancy ger.

Have you ever seen any place so green?

P-day games while at Mission Training!

 An old cemetery along the way.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

A Very Short Letter this Week!

Dear Family!

Very little time this week, so sorry! But this Friday we hope to be having a baptism here in Nalaik!  She has been an investigator for 17 years! She just never pulled the trigger!  She remembers all the old discussions and has all the old booklets that the missionaries used to use and she has some funny stories about the old missionaries!  Please pray for her!  Her name is Tuyatsetseg. I love you guys!  I promise to do better letter writing next week.


Elder Harris

Saying goodbye to Elder Higgs.   L to R:  Elders Huckvale, Palmer, Higgs, and Harris.