Monday, February 23, 2015

Week 28

Hi Everyone!
Well this week was good! We had a zone activity today and we played ultimate frisbee but we had to use a soccer ball because Dominicans don´t know what frisbees are. It was great and just when we were getting too hot and tired, to keep playing, the zone leaders brought out four big buckets of water balloons! It was a great time.
 This past week we met a guy who spoke English. It was fun to try and teach him in English but halfway through we just decided to switch to Spanish because we are so used to teaching in Spanish! He has a really interesting story. When he was 12 he moved to New York with his family and got caught up with drugs and gang stuff. He wouldn´t tell us very many details but he was in and out of prison and eventually got deported. He came back to the DR and started a family and now has two little girls and has been sober for 3 years. He absolutely loved talking about the Plan of Salvation with us and he asked us if he could bring his spouse to the next lesson. We of course said yes and kinda felt silly for not asking him to invite her- haha. But that was a really interesting contact to make so we will see where that goes!
Lots of people I talk to have family or know somebody that lives in New York. Its kinda difficult sometimes because the Dominicans don’t know and think New York is the United States. I have family in New York! Oh really what part? Florida. (facepalm). Or they ask me if I´m from New York and I say no Utah in the Stados Unidos, and they say Is Utah a town in New York? Its kinda funny! haha.

Elder Harsh
Pictures of families in the Punta Area

Monday, February 16, 2015

Week 27


Well this past week I hit my 6 month mark! I´ve been dreaming of this day ever since I was in the CCM, because I heard that once you hit 6 months the language isn´t really a problem. Well they were right! I am still learning a lot and I´m not satisfied with where I´m at BUT I am finally to a point where it’s enjoyable! It’s actually fun to go out and try and get different ideas across in Spanish and try to apply new grammar things I studied about and I can sometimes go a whole lesson without the people asking me what I meant! Its progress!
Me and Elder Cook are having a blast out here and we are going to beg President to give us one more transfer together even though it’s not likely because I have been in Punta for 6 months and missionaries usually aren´t allowed to stay in one area more than 6 months. But it’s worth a shot.
 We had a really good (and much needed) lesson yesterday! On Saturday we had a trip to the temple planned with an investigator family whose parents need to get married and that is the only thing stopping them! They consider themselves Mormon and go to church always but are having trouble finding the encouragement (and money) to get married. We thought a trip to the temple and a lesson on eternal families with a married member was just what they needed. We planned everything out to have the member take them to the temple and meet us there for the lesson, but 30 mins. before it was time for them to go some of their extended family showed up and the dad didn´t get off work until a lot after the time they were supposed to go. Also they didn´t bother to call us for 3 hours so we were sitting in the CCM waiting and waiting and waiting.
After that the next day was Sunday and Juana, an investigator that was supposed to be baptized this Saturday didn´t show up to church so we had to cancel her baptism. It was a really rough chain of events and we were just kind of dragging through the lessons until we got to one with Esmelquis. He had a neighbor over and we had started the restoration with him but since his friend was there we decided to start over again and teach them both. They were both really receptive and had tons of questions, but they were questions that fit in perfectly with the lesson. Whenever we would answer their questions they would get this look of pure excitement and say that it makes so much sense! They were so excited about everything we taught and we ended up teaching them for over 2 hours! We kept answering their questions and they would have discussions and then ask us to talk and the spirit was so strong.
Something I am a little ashamed to admit is that before I got out here I took the Gospel for granted. I had been taught the doctrine all my life and I never knew anything besides the truth. I just kinda thought everyone felt that way, but to watch the light of Christ take hold of these people and see the happiness and the clarity this gospel brings makes me never want to take anything about this gospel for granted ever again. I love being out here and even though my Spanish isn´t perfect the message is and the people are soft hearted enough to look past my errors in order to see the truth of the message. So it was a rough few days but it ended on a good note!

Elder Harsh

Monday, February 9, 2015

Week 26

Hi Everyone!
This week was great! It is so much fun having an English speaking companion! Me and Elder Cook have a very similar sense of humor and so we always keep each other entertained. One game we started playing is called the insult game. While we are walking down the street the kids always tell us to say something in English as we pass by, and so we made the game where we have to insult them in English but we can´t reuse an insult. It makes the kids smile because we are speaking to them in English and it makes us smile because those kids have no idea that I just told them  that 'Their mom goes to college'. Needless to say we are enjoying ourselves.
Two weeks ago we contacted a guy named Yenson. He is a part time baseball coach and so he invited us to play baseball with him earlier today. Turns out he is a part time coach for a REAL team. Their coach plays for the White Sox and their assistant coach plays for Kansas City!! They are only here for another week or two and then they head back to the states for spring training! It was so cool to talk with them and then we all played baseball and it was so much fun!! It was just a relaxed game but we all had a ton of fun and we all got to know each other well! I asked what the Professional baseball players name was but he just said 'My friends call me Tito' and when I asked what I should call him he said Tito. So I don´t know his name but I can check off 'befriend a professional baseball player' off my bucket list! 
Life is good here in the Dominican Republic and I hope everything is good back home too!

Elder Harsh 

                                                                    New investigator :)

Monday, February 2, 2015

Week 25

Hello Everyone!
Well here we are again another P day down! Today we had a pizza party with our district! It was way good but super expensive and we are going to feel that when the apollo runs out haha I don´t know how to say apollo in English.
 But this week was easily the best week of my mission! My companion is named Elder Cook and he is from Las Vegas and yeah he speaks English!! He is a goon and we are already good friends! We also think alike so we have taught some gnarly lessons this week! There were so many good ones I can´t share them all, but one that stands out to me was with an investigator named Kati. She has all the lessons and is ready for baptism except for the fact that she isn´t married to her husband. NOBODY here is married and its annoying. haha but her husband is always working and doesn´t come to the lessons, but she wanted us to talk to him about them getting married. She told us her husband is friends with our branch president and she said if we brought him along her husband would probably come inside and listen to us. So we brought the President to the lesson and after 45 mins of waiting he finally came in. I had absolutely no idea what I was going to say, and it dawned on me that I was the one that had to teach because Elder Cook knew nothing about their situation. So as he walked in I offered a short to the point prayer that consisted of the words I need help amen. He sat down and I didn´t really give much thought to anything, I just went forward with faith and God really did put the words in my mouth that I needed to say. I ended up talking about our purpose here as missionaries and a little about what his wife had been learning and then introduced the law of chasitiy and talked about the importance of marriage. I had the branch President testify of the blessings that come from marriage and then I bore my testimony and then let Kati bear her testimony to her husband. It was the most powerful lesson I have ever taught and he said not only will he get married but he also wants to learn more about the church! He said there is something about you Mormons that is wearing off on my wife and I want that in my life too! I just kinda sat there stunned and he started repeating himself because he thought I didn´t understand him haha. I then bore testimony again of the truthfullness of the gospel and the happiness I know it will bring to their family. I was surprised at how excited he was to learn more, but not as surprised as Kati!
After the lesson she couldn´t stop thanking us and she kept telling us how much of a surprise that whole situation was! I know that if you move forward in faith, God will give you the words you need to say in the very SECOND you need them. If you have faith, God will take care of the rest. That is one of many lessons I learned this week and I can´t wait for another week!

Elder Harsh

Week 24

Hi Everyone!
Well transfers are tomorrow and I am staying here for another transfer! That will make over 6 months in one area! But my companion is heading out to a different zone and my new companion´s name is Elder Cook. The fact that his name is Cook and not Cocinar probably means he is an American, so I´m really looking forward to that! But I´m kinda bummed to see Elder Zetina go, and cool thing we learned this week is that Kolton Larson is serving in the mission where Elder Zetina lives! Small world!
Elder Zetina and I have only had one close scary call, if you could call it that, we had a group of Tigres (deliquens) followed us for a bit but we stopped and contacted a house and they let us in and when we got out they were gone. But that’s about it! We have had some arguments with some Advintistas and other people, but after one or two of those I pulled out the scripture in 3 Nephi about contention and told my companion they aren’t about to listen to us so let’s quit wasting our time arguing with them. It’s been kinda hard on him because he loves to argue with people. He said it’s an adrenaline rush and I told him he doesn´t know the definition of an adrenaline rush!  We then had a lesson where an investigator had an honest question that E Zetina answered using the scripture he usually used to argue and after that he kinda realized that there is a time and place for that kind of stuff.
 As for the baptism, we had to cancel it last minute which was a bummer. She had been having financial struggles and might have to move and all this stuff so her life was kinda crazy. She finally got this new job we had been praying for her to get, and by some miracle she doesn´t have to work on Sundays! But her first day was Saturday and she was supposed to get off at 5 in time for the baptism at 7 but she had to work later and called us at 650 to let us know she couldn´t make it. It was a bummer but we figure it’s better than if she made a mistake and couldn´t be baptized. So we will wait for her life to settle down a bit and baptize her when she feels absolutely ready.
I´m kinda glad that I get to stay here one more transfer because I am getting really attached to the people here! That was my week kind of a bummer but we had some good lessons and other experiences to make up for it! Hope all is good at home!
Elder Harsh