Monday, March 30, 2015

Week 33

Hi Everyone!
Well this was quite the week, I don´t really know where to start! A few weeks ago we were walking along and these kids were struggling to carry a mattress up the side of a mountain to their new house. We went and helped them and we asked the mom if she needed any more help. She was really happy when we asked her because it turns out she was moving her entire house, so we spent the next hour or so moving all of her possessions up a mountain. (It was in a poor area so there wasn´t too much to move) After we finished we tried to find the mom to ask if we could come by later and share a message, but she was nowhere to be found. So through the next few weeks we tried to contact that house but she wasn´t ever there and we kinda got the feeling she just used us and was avoiding us. But one day we were walking and we decided to go try one more time. We were kinda nervous because getting rejected sucks, but we went for it anyways. When she came and saw it was us her face lit up and she gave us one of the warmest welcomes I’ve ever gotten! She was so nice and she absolutely loves this gospel. She went to church and has already read a pretty big chunk of the book of Mormon.
Also this past Saturday we had a service project where we cut down all this tall grass with machetes. There is an art to using a machete, but after slight lacerations on my hand, knee, and companion´s elbow, I actually got really good at using it! The only problem is it took us 2 and a half hours to do what I could have done in 10 minutes with a weed wacker. But we had a good time and we got empanadas afterwards. Also we had intercambios and I was with E. Zamora from Texas and we had such a good time!! We are best buds, and let’s just say we know how to party. I will send some pictures home that will help you understand!  haha. Also earlier today we went up to Yamasa and Elder Zamora and I played basketball with some people there. Mom you are gonna be so proud- Us two white kids beat the team of three black kids!!! I think we are ready to play in the suburbs of Chicago. But that’s about it, I’ll be sending pictures home soon!
                Oh also coming back home from intercambios, a guy just walked off the bus with my bag. Sooooo I am down one white shirt, a pair of garments, My really handy micro fiber towel, and ALL OF MY PICTURES. It’s a given that every intercambio you always take all your photos and talk about home and stuff with the other missionary, and so the photo album and every single picture I had is gone. So maybe you could send (lots) more pictures! Include one of my flying the hot air balloons! Love ya!

Elder Harsh

Monday, March 23, 2015

Week 32

Hi Everyone!
Before we get started, yesterday I just found out the magic of tide to go!! It literally makes the stains disappear from your shirt!! I used the entire thingy getting off seven months  worth of stains out of my shirts yesterday. The only bad news is i´m out so if you could send me more of that, I´d sure appreciate that. Also Chulula.
Anyways this week was a great week. It was a pretty average week, but average with me and Elder Cook means we are having a great time! We taught this guy named Leonedas this week for the first time in about 4 weeks. He was a contact we made and we taught him a few lessons, but he was also taking lessons with the Jehovahs Witnesses. He told us he wanted to finish up with them and then start with us, and when we tried to make a return appointment he told us just to ask him if he is outside when we walk by. Normally that is how Dominicans say they aren´t interested, but we walked by last week and he was outside and we made a lesson with him. We had already taught him about the restoration and the book of Mormon and so we kinda just talked with him and answered some questions he had and out of nowhere Elder Cook just asked him if he knows this is true. He was silent for what felt like an eternity and then he said, I´m glad you asked me that question. He was praying about whether the other church he was studying was true and when he finished he noticed the book of mormon and so he opened it and started reading. He had a few questions that we answered for him but he told us that he knows this message was true and he wants to come to church next week! It doesn´t matter how many times I will see that as a missionary, I will never get sick of that moment when investigators first gain their testimony.
This coming week we have intercambios(Exchanges) coming up and I am going to head up to Yamasa with a Elder Zamora from Texas. We are already way tight so we are both way pumped for this week.

Elder Harsh
Drying my Laundry

 My washing machine

Monday, March 16, 2015

Week 31

Hi Everyone.
Well just like that the week has gone by! We have had our hands full this week with investigators problems! We have a couple who were planning on getting married for their baptism but sometime in April their son is coming to visit from Spain, and he said he wants to be there for the wedding. The transfer ends halfway through April so I´m not sure if I´m going to be there for their baptism or not, but I have my fingers crossed!
Also we have a really good family that had been progressing really well but when we had a word of wisdom lesson it turns out both the mom and dad are both POTHEADS. They ended up telling us that they don´t smoke weed every day,  but usually more than 3 times a week, and when they do they smoke it-they smoke it  ALL DAY LONG!  So that was a kick in the shorts but we set up a plan for them to stop and they genuinely want to stop so we will have to see where that goes.
 But in better news we have the family that we recently started teaching the husband too, and they are progressing really well. We set a goal for them to be married by the first week of April and he said he is going to try to do it sooner! He is loving the gospel and we had an especially good lesson about marriage because we had the branch President and his wife come and they basically did everything for us and nailed it. Them along with one or two other investigators have the best chance to be baptized this transfer!
Holy cow I almost forgot to tell you about the conference! Jeffery R Holland was awesome!! We got there super early and sat 4 rows from the front, and we sat on either side of our investigators to show Elder Holland that we are good missionaries. Haha during the conference I was low key eating smarties because I was hungry and I put my hand up to my mouth at the exact time Elder Holland decides to look at me! He caught me red handed and there was no getting out of it, so I just shrugged my shoulders and Elder Holland started laughing. I was kind of embarrassed but I guess now he knows the real me! Haha he gave a really good talk to the people about the restored gospel and how we should strengthen our testimonies  always which is both a perfect message for the members and also our investigators that were there. He nailed it! Also he told us a story where he was in a hurry to catch a flight and he was speeding on the freeway. He told us he repented because he was driving so fast and all the American missionaries thought it was funny, but the Dominicans were just kind of confused because speed limits don´t exist here. But he gave a really good talk and when he walked into the room my investigators said they felt that he was a man of God, which is really all they needed to get out of the conference. It was a really great experience!!
Today Elder Cook and I went to Yamasa where our district leader lives and we went and hiked a mountain. The elder from Texas thought they were mountains but I have literally longboarded hills bigger than those ´mountains´. But that was fun and yes mom I took pictures. (Your welcome)

Elder Harsh

Monday, March 9, 2015

Week 30

Hi Everyone!
Whew. First things first- it took us almost an hour to find a place to write this week! Apparently a light pole fell somewhere in our area on Saturday and knocked out the power for the entire area. So instead of having power sometimes we had it never for the past few days. The only hard part was trying to sleep without a fan because it was so hot! But I guess they still haven´t fixed it yet because we had to walk forever to find a place that had power!
But as for transfers- I´m staying one more here!! We are so pumped to be together one more transfer!! We have two baptisms set with a possible 3 more one of them being a family! I don´t know how many of those are actually going to go through but I´m just happy to stay with the people here! Also get this, this Sunday we are going to have a special visitor at our stake conference. JEFFERY R HOLLAND IS COMING TO OUR STAKE CONFERENCE!!! I am beyond pumped for that too!! So all in all I am pretty satisfied with how transfers went.
As for my birthday we celebrated that night but it was kinda a rough day to be honest! We had a temple trip planned with an investigator family and a member and the family bailed AGAIN. So that was rough but we kept busy, and like usual when you are feeling down if  you work through it the Lord will make it up to you. We were teaching a lady named Francia who has been a catholic her whole life out of tradition but is really interested in our message. We had taught her a few times and asked her to pray about the Book of Mormon but she always says she hasn´t gotten an answer yet. Some things happened so we had about a two week interval in between our lessons and we came back and she said that she felt like our church was close, but the catholic church was true. I know that there is no way that if she actually read and prayed about the Book of Mormon she could feel that way so I asked her and sure enough, she hadn´t read it. So we read a little bit together focusing on Moroni 10:3 and 4. We talked a lot about her prayers and how she needs to do her part. Basically we gently said you need to read the dang book and pray. We talked with her about prayer and then just addressed different questions she had. We gave her a chapter to read and she looked at the book for a long time, and looked back up with us and said through tears that she knows this is the Church of Jesus Christ. She said she is still going to pray for a confirmation, but she feels like what we were teaching is true. I wanted to jump up and give her a high five but we were both almost in tears and that would have ruined the spirit so instead we just bore our testimonies and kept the spirit strong. She said she is really excited to come and hear an apostle speak this Sunday too. So basically we have Jeffery R Holland as a backup plan. But that was one of the great things that happened this week! Sorry for the long email!

Elder Harsh
Some of the houses in the area

Monday, March 2, 2015

Week 29

Hi Everyone!
Well this is the week that me and Elder Cook have been dreading. It’s most likely our last week together because transfers are next week and I have been in Punta for 6 months. But we both just finished sending emails to President begging him to keep us together one more transfer. So next week when we receive transfer calls should be interesting.
Anyways this week was really good! I don´t know where to start! One morning we had a lesson fall through, so instead of contacting or something we had the impression to just go straight to our next lesson. On the way we bumped into a member who lives up in Yamasa and she told us she has a reference for us! She took us to her mother´s house and we got talking to her and she is very interested and the lesson after that went really well too! Her name is Angela and we passed by the construction site where she cooks meals for the workers, and her friend is a member in a different area and she gave us a reference for the family of a guy who was painting our ward mission leader´s house!
Also we set a date for the marriage and baptism of an older couple we have been working on with a member of the stake presidency. And if that’s not enough I have one more cool story that I can think of. I don´t remember if I told you this but last transfer we were out contacting and there was a house playing Chris Brown so of course we contacted that house so we could listen to it for a second haha. Anyways we ended up talking to someone who was just visiting and when we asked if we could talk with the person that lives there she told us she was busy and wasn´t very interested. So fast forward to yesterday when at church one of the members asks if we could come visit a friend of hers. We go with her that afternoon and it ended up being the same house! (no music this time :(  but we went in and she was so warm and friendly and kept asking what she could do to get closer to God! It was such a great lesson teaching her about the restoration and it really made me realize the difference a friend can make!
 Ok one last story and then I´ll wrap it up. We brought a new family to church who had been really receptive to what we had been teaching him but a little hesitant to say whether he thought it was true or not. This past Sunday was testimony meeting and he asked me if he could go up. I was really surprised but I already explained to him what testimony meeting was so I told him to go for it. He went up and told everybody how lucky they were to be here. He said that he felt like a new wind has taken hold of his life and that he couldn´t believe people could have this kind of joy and peace in their lives! It was one of the most powerful testimonies I have ever heard and he wasn´t even a member! This has been such a good week! Hope all is good back home!!

Elder Harsh   
Blake's barber!