Thursday, October 22, 2015

Zone Meeting in Darkhan, then to Murun

Dear Family,

So this will be short this week.  Sorry, but I'm short on time.  This past week was pretty good.  My companion and I went to Darkhan for a Zone training there. This coming Thursday, I will be flying to Murun with President Benson and others.  I'm looking forward to that and will let you know all about it next week.  Also, this week  Elder Murat and I found quite a few new investigators and have started to meet with them. I am very hopeful and see success coming from them. We taught 12 lessons this week, which we are very excited about.  It is super nice being busy.

Elder Harris

My companion and I traveled up north to Darkhan for a Zone Meeting.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Trains and Taxis between Zuunharaa, Darkan, and UB


Well not too much this week.  I got back to UB from Zuunharaa. It was kind of crazy all week riding on the trains back and forth from UB to Darkhan and to Zuunharaa, etc.  One morning at 1:00 a.m., Elder Ulziijargal and I were supposed to catch the train from Zuunharaa to Darkhan for a Zone Training meeting we had to be at.  Well we slept through the train and the only way to get there was to take the train south to UB and catch a taxi from UB to Darkhan.  We went a long ways south to go back a long ways north.  Good times on the night train!  We had to laugh at ourselves.

Not too much missionary work was done this week in my area of Selbe.  That is how is usually goes for AP's, unlike other missions.  Most missions have AP regulations that are 100% opposite of ours.  They have to lead the mission in baptisms and lessons weekly.  Mongolian AP's have not had a baptism in over a year. Hopefully we get one!  That's our goal. 

I will be going to Murun on October 23rd with President Benson, Brother Harper, and Brother Batbold.  I am super excited about that!  Then if I get to go to Khovd before I leave, I will have been to all three far places in the mission. Crossing my fingers. 

This week I loved General conference.  I prayed to know how to be the best RM I can be. That prayer was answered in so many ways, that I barely had room too write all of it on my note pad.  I know Heavenly Father is mindful of me and has called messengers to warn and protect us. Those messengers are called Prophets and Apostles and they, like in the days of old, are here on the Earth.  I know this is true.  I am so thankful for the great week of conference and for the many answered prayers and counsel that I received from the Lord's called messengers.  I am not trunky by any means, but I am excited and pray daily to be an amazing returned missionary. 

Elder Harris

Zuunharaa city limits.


Duush Mountain, above Zuunharaa.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

A Russian sister, a wheelchair, and a smile.

Dear Family,

Right now my companion and I are in Zuunharaa, on an assignment from the President.  I had a very spiritual experience in Sacrament Meeting yesterday.  As I walked into the church, I saw a white woman, Svetlana.  Weird.   I knew she was Russian right away, she just had that look.  I walked up and she said in Mongolian, "Elder….", and I replied, "Harris."  She smiled and sat down.  Next we were called to go down from the 3rd floor church building and carry the Branch's 2nd counselor, Brother Erhembayar, up the stairs.  We walked down, grabbed him in his wheel chair and carried him up the stairs and rolled him over to the stand for him to take his seat. I then saw a woman, Sister Sansaraa, running around after a baby, and she was just smiling from ear to ear, talking to her child with the sweetest, softest voice.  Sacrament started, and testimonies were shared.  Sister Svetlana bore her testimony.  With a soft, slow voice, speaking perfect Mongolian, she thanked her Heavenly Father, and said that she was so grateful to have made the right choice.  Next Sister Sansaraa bore her testimony and said how great it was to be back to church.  She and her husband, married in the temple, had been inactive for about 3 years, and were reactivated 3 weeks ago.  She said that in the past 3 weeks everything in her family's life changed. The meeting ended, and after church we carried Brother Erhembayar back down the stairs. He smiled at me the whole way down the stairs as I carried from the front. Then it hit me hard. I love this place. I love this gospel. I love my Savior. He is always there waiting to help, succor, and bring us back into his fold. How blessed am I?

For the closing song in Sacrament Meeting we sang, "The Spirit of God", and as I looked through the large windows behind the pulpit, looking over the beautiful mountains that surround this town and I couldn't hold back the tears.  Jesus Christ is our Lord and King. His gospel is here in the Earth, and it changes people!  It has changed me forever, and forever. Not only me, but a Russian sister with a solemn testimony of gratitude, a man in a wheelchair with strong faith, and a woman whose smile shows how she feels with the gospel's light back in her life.

"We'll sing and we'll shout with the armies of heaven,
Hosanna, hosanna to God and the Lamb!
Let glory to them in the highest be given,
Henceforth and forever, Amen and amen!"

Elder Harris

This is  the little town of Zuunkaraa that we visited.  This is the Kharaa River running through it.

Blessed with a New Assignment, New Responsibilities, and lots of Traveling

Dear Family,

So this week has been pretty hectic.  Transfers came out and there was a lot of work to be done getting missionaries to their new areas.  I have a new companion, Elder Murat.  Elder Murat and I trained the new group of Mongolian missionaries this week.  We are APs now (Assistant to the President), and with this calling comes TONS of new responsibilities.  We also worked a lot for the upcoming Zone Training Meeting.  It’s a lot of work, but it’s fun.  I am now in the Selbe Ward, which is in the Stake.  My first Sunday in the Stake was nuts!  There were like 25 elders in the Ward.  I have never seen that in Mongolia.  Literally nuts!  This is the last area of my mission, and they have a “Feed the Missionaries” pass-around schedule!!   Can you say “Blessed?”   This week we ate a lot of food.  That was awesome!

To answer your question about what my new responsibilities are, well as an AP we work very close to President. We are the connection between President and the missionaries for the most part.  We meet with him pretty much daily, over such things as transfers, training for new missionaries, monthly trainings for missionaries, we have weekly staff meetings with everyone running the mission, etc.  We are not office Elders, so yes, we do missionary work as much as we can. We are in the office a lot though doing clerical work.  Right now we are in the Selbe Ward because they are the most self-relient, and not-really-needing-missionary-work-ward in the country.  Of course, they need tons of missionary work like everywhere else, but we cannot commit to the full load, if that makes sense. Two other sisters are in the ward with us and they carry a huge load and lead the missionary work for the most part.  We travel a lot.  This coming week I will be traveling to Zuunharaa, Mongolia, about 3 hours by train from UB north.  I am doing splits with some Elders who needed some extra help, so President is sending me Saturday night by train for a few days.  Tomorrow night we are off to Darkhan for a Zone Training, then off to Selenge for splits with Zone Leaders. We are going to Murun soon with President too!  So lots of traveling.   

My birthday was great.  Elder and Sister Hill took some elders and I to Shargrila (A HUGE BUFFET LIKE AMERICAN STYLE) for my birthday!  I was amazing! Also, Sister Hill  made me a amazing pumpkin cake!!!  I have missed that flavor!
Well I am so excited for General Conference!!  I think we are all going to watch it in Mongolian this year so we will see how that goes!

I read a talk by Elder Bruce R. McConkie this week called, “The Seven Deadly Heresies," and I really loved this quote:

"And so what we do in this life is chart a course leading to eternal life. That course begins here and now and continues in the realms ahead. We must determine in our hearts and in our souls, with all the power and ability we have, that from this time forward we will press on in righteousness; by so doing we can go where God and Christ are.  If we make that firm determination, and are in the course of our duty when this life is over, we will continue in that course in eternity.   That same spirit that possesses our bodies at the time we depart from this mortal life will have power to possess our bodies in the eternal world. If we go out of this life loving the Lord, desiring righteousness, and seeking to acquire the attributes of godliness, we will have that same spirit in the eternal world, and we will then continue to advance and progress until an ultimate, destined day when we will possess, receive, and inherit all things."

What I learned:   His is ours to have! 

Have a great week family!  


Elder Harris

Here is Ganbayar (Naraa's son who we baptized a year ago).  He is now a mini-missionary for a whole transfer!   So proud of him.  He will be a valiant missionary.

 My new companion and I, Elder Murat.

 Tsendee, a 17-year-old who we used to meet with in the American Denj Branch.   Great kid.