Monday, September 29, 2014

Week 7

Holy crap this week has been crazy! Last Tuesday we left the CCM and all of the friends we had made and drove out to the mission office. There we met our companions and aye mi madre, MY COMPANION DOESN´T SPEAK ENGLISH!!! He speaks about as much English as I do Spanish, So I have to walk by faith a lot and basically copy everything he does. He is a really nice guy but that language barrier is a doozy! Something he does a lot- is try and ask me a question, but only asks half of it and then expects me to answer.  For example- he will say "before we leave..." and then look at me like I´m supposed to say something!  Haha it’s tough but hopefully this will help me learn Spanish!
We have a pretty nice house, but we don’t have power very often. We do have a gnarly generator thingy though! its two car batteries chained to our porch! It keeps one light on and runs the fans so what more do you need! 
Oh, I didn´t want to tell you, but I got strep in the CCM and that sucked! But I got a Priesthood blessing and it went away in 3 days so it ended up being a testimony builder to get strep! Imagine that! Haha It’s crazy here! I don´t have much time, but it’s really poor. We have one of the nicest places in the area and it’s a small apartment above a sketchy store. We have a pretty nice house and we clean it every p day so don’t worry! Yes I eat and its chicken, potatoes, rice, beans, and a bunch of stuff that I don’t know what it is and I can’t ask because my comp doesn´t speak English! Haha. Our next door neighbors live in tin shacks. Our area is about half paved roads and half dirt roads. The more wealthy people live in concrete houses, and the poorer people live in tin or wood shacks, and again, about half live in concrete houses and half live in shacks.
The people are really nice and always invite us in to hear what we have to say. Because we can’t communicate well I´m not sure if we opened the area or just both got here but me and my comp had to start at square 1, but we already have a family with a baptism date! We have two others that are close, and a bunch of others who are interested that we need to teach more! Even though it’s hotter than Satan´s armpit, I absolutely love it here!
Yes please send my baseball glove! After this, we are going to play baseball with some kids and I´m  pumped! Also send clear packing tape, because it rains a lot and I need to laminate my planner.  Also scissors, smarties, smarties, and hmm I think that’s it. Oh and smarties. Hold off sending the package for a week so I can see if I forgot anything!

Elder Harsh

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Week 6

Elder Harsh and his Mission President and wife.  Another picture of  him and his companion!                                                                                Lookin'Good!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Week 5

Its T-5 days until game time and as much as I love it here, I can't WAIT to get out! Its like Prison except you feel the spirit all the time, take showers alone, and absolutely love it. So really its nothing like prison. Last week we went on splits for half a day with Elders from the east mission to get a taste of our future and its gonna be tight!! Besides not understanding anybody I was killing it out there! All I could do was pray and bear testimony, but it was a blast and I cant wait for tomorrow to go on splits again, and then next week when its game time!
 Also I think P-day is different out in the field so it might be a while before you hear from me again. No mom that doesn't mean I died. But today the absolutely unspeakable happened!!! President Freestone told me I needed a hair cut.... Mommy I have never missed your salon more than about an hour ago when this strange man was cutting my hair with strange clippers. I hated everything about it. One of the elders asked me if I was doing alright because I guess my face looked terrified. Its gonna be a long two years without your salon mommy. 
Anyways the other night we were chilling in our room and there was an earthquake! It was small but our building is made out of concrete so it was shaking a lot and it was so much fun! 
Also while we were scavenging through this storage closet we found a tag that said "Hermana Walker". We have an Elder Walker and so we did what any missionary in training would do and stole all of his tags and left the Hermana one on his desk! We made him wear it for 3 days until President noticed.
 Also this week I had the first time where I instinctively spoke Spanish without thinking about it! It was kind of a big deal. I dropped my fork in the garbage can, and so I had to reach all the way down to the bottom. One of the workers was sitting there laughing at me, and when I came up I held up my tie and showed him my shirt and asked him if I was clean.....In Spanish! This week has been fun buts its going to be hard to say goodbye to some of the friends I've made here! We are all kinda sad that we have to say goodbye to each
other but we are all ready to get into the field. Next week I will be a full time representative of our Savior! Its gonna be tight!!
Elder Harsh

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Week 4

This week was pretty good! We said goodbye to the older set of missionaries that were here which means we only have two more weeks until game time! It was weird because we only had 15 people in the CCM, and it felt really empty! A big batch of newbies came in last night and its kinda sad because I know exactly how they are feeling and it sucks! I always tell them it gets better! With the old batch of missionaries there were about 44 of us, then we dropped down to 15 for two days, and now we are super full with around 50 missionaries!
 Funny thing, one of the new sisters bumped into Mitch Plant at the airport while he was heading to Mexico, and he told her to find me!
 We don't meet with the president, but we write him a letter once a week that I'm almost positive he doesn't read, and I shake his hand every night so that he will give me chocolate! My hair is getting longer, but its still within mission guidelines and I'm not about to let a strange person touch my hair until its absolutely necessary.
 Besides Smarties, Chulula, and a nice warm hug from someone of the opposite gender, I don't need anything! We go to the tienda every other week and so I buy oreos and gatorade to get me through the week! What more do you need? But I talked to my Mission President the other day and he said that he would be fine if we brought baseball gloves out on our mission, so if I cant find one here you might have to send me mine!! 
This week we were supposed to go contacting at the university again but there was a huge strike going on! There were people in those Nacho Libre masks yelling and lighting stuff on fire and everything! It was pretty cool, but we had to stay away. Not that it was dangerous or anything, there's absolutely no reason why you should be worried! I'm safe! Its probably more because the spirit cant dwell in a state of contention, and if "ye have not the spirit, ye shall not teach". It wasn't dangerous don't worry! But tomorrow we go out on splits with REAL elders to go and teach REAL people, so I'm super excited for that!
 I'm kinda sick of the CCM, but we think of new ways to keep our spirits high. For example, yesterday this kid is always bragging about how he has so many ties, so we stole all of them and distributed them to every single elder in the CCM. Everyone. So he comes down to breakfast and slowly realized that we are all wearing his ties! haha As for pictures, yeah...I've taken some...I need a card reader or something to put them on the computer so I can send you some! Let me know when you want me to mail home the card!
Elder Harsh

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Elder Harsh being his usual goofy self!  Gotta love down time!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Week 3

This week has been awesome!!! Time is starting to all mush together and its weird because the days are really long but the weeks are really short. Does that even make sense? Anyways I've learned a lot about prayer these past few weeks and how willing God is to answer them and help us out. He isn't only willing, he wants to help us, and all we need to do is ask. I have had multiple occasions where my prayer was very clearly answered over night and its really cool to see how prevalent the hand of God is in my life. It was always there, I just don't think I noticed it as much as I do now. As for the rain, yeah, it rains a lot! It has rained more these past few weeks than the president has ever seen! We don't usually leave the CCM/temple grounds, so I didn't see any flooding but with how much it rained, I am sure there was tons. We played some hard core volleyball in the rain. The CCM is a building right next to the temple that doubles as a cheap hotel for people who travel across the island to visit the temple. The temple is right next to the CCM, and so we go on night time walks around the temple a lot and it is really cool! I've become a champion at ironing, because I always forget about my shirts in the dryer and they come out really wrinkly. One of the guys in our room accidently left the iron on his shirt and burnt it and we have given him a lot of crap for that -haha. This week we walked down to the University to talk with people. REAL PEOPLE. My companion knows a LOT more Spanish than I do, but he is kinda socially awkward and so he freezes up in social situations and so I had to do all the talking in my awful broken Spanish. On the bright side we gave away 2 Book of Mormons and 6 restoration pamphlets!! Well technically just 5 pamphlets because this one guy as we were talking with him he says he doesn't believe in God or Jesus Christ, so being the extraordinary missionary I am,  I told him to read the pamphlet and ran away! In other news, THEY HAVE BLUE GATORADE HERE!!!! Best day ever!! They have the big bottles for less than a dollar, so I stalked up. The food is good, but its always the same and it is causing certain problems we don't need to mention. So depending on your definition of sick, I have not been sick yet! but on Saturday we get cookies and Sunday dinner is pizza because  they love us. In the city here the power doesn't go out for long periods of time, but it goes out for 30 seconds -5 mins at a time at least once a day, and lots more if its raining! The temple is awesome. It is SO much better as a missionary! The Endowment and everything is in English, and is incredible, but the initiatorys are in Spanish and so I just sit there really confused while they did their thing. Breakfast is this weird toast with the most delicious jam you've ever tasted, with cereal that is soggy before you put it in milk, and occasionally brownies. Yes, brownies for breakfast. Sorry Mom! They used to give us eggs, but they weren't very good and one elder got a bacterial infection in his stomach from them so we haven't had eggs since! I love it here but am ready to get out into the field! Halfway done with the CCM!!
Love you!
Elder Harsh 

Week 2

AAAAnnnd just like that my first full week is done! The MTC/CCM has a weird sense of time to it. The first two days were so hard because they were so long and we were jet lagged and they felt like they were two weeks!! It kinda sucked haha but then we got into the swing of things and now the last 2 weeks have felt like a couple days! Don't worry I've actually taken a few pictures! I took one of my bed and no, I didn't just make it for the picture. Alright, as a servant of the Lord I cant lie, but I only use one small sheet at night so its not even a big deal! Haha the CCM has air conditioning so that is very nice, because let me tell you, it is HOT outside. The humidity is probably twice as bad as it was in Fiji, and I'm not in a tank top and shorts here! After 45 mins of ultimate frisbee it feels like my lungs are full of water and my clothes are completely drenched with sweat. Its kinda nasty, but it doesn't smell that bad probably because most of its from the humidity. I dunno. but stuff takes forever to dry. my shower towel is always wet, so periodically through the week I'll sneak into the laundry room to dry it or else it would just be wet always! Also the CCM has really nice living quarters, but the AC is always on in the morning and the showers aren't heated so I'm actually freezing cold in the morning. I should probably enjoy that while it lasts. Me and my companion get a long really well and the other two guys in my room are way chill, and we automatically became friends when we met! We always have a good time together. I'm running short on time, so I'll talk to you next week! 

Elder Harsh

Week 1

Hi All-
Here is Blake's first email!  He sounds great!
Thank you for your support!

Sorry if i make typos, they don't give us much time to email! Things are going very good for me and its kinda weird/nice to have a routine in my life for once! I am eating great! They have huge portions here at the MTC! Lunch and dinner are always the same, white rice with a bean soup to pour on it, some kind of brown rice with beans in it, chicken and a mystery meat. The meat is good, but very different from the meat we eat back home! Also the food has not completely destroyed me if you know what I mean, which is kinda surprising! My Companion is way chill! He is from this small town in Cali and is definitely not afraid to be himself! We get along great! We share a room with another set of elders and we are all way tight! there is one elder, elder Parker, who me and him have gotten so tight! he lives and Spanish fork and knows a bunch of my friends down there! also he is 6'9 so its kinda funny to be around him haha. Sundays are very nice because you take a break from learning about the language, and its all about the gospel. A regular day goes: breakfast, personal study, companionship study, language until lunch, after lunch you do more language until 345 then its gym! after gym its dinner and then you teach a fake investigator in spanish and its really difficult! The language is tough, and I frequently feel behind because i haven't had any prior schooling in spanish, while everyone else in my district has had 3-6 years of it! so that can be frustrating and the teachers hardly ever speak english so it can be tough to understand things. but its a lot of fun and i have come a long way!

 Then we do companionship planning, group prayer, and then off to bed! all the teachers speak only spanish and its really confusing! ok i have a question, do you wash whites in hot or cold? what about darks? i did them both and cold and the world didn't end so that good! Its great here and at first the days were so long, but now they speed by! it seems like yesterday I was just getting here! I love you lots and hope you are doing well!
Elder Harsh