Monday, May 25, 2015

Week 41

Hi Everyone!
Well just like that and we are on the last week of the transfer! It has really flown by!! This week started out kind of tough. We had 3 straight days of contacting because every lesson we had scheduled fell through. Even with Vaquero! We were really struggling to keep motivated but we were able to stick to it and when Wednesday rolled around we started to have some lessons and actually made a few really good contacts. Then Thursday we went out to Vaquero's house again to see what the heck was going on with him (remember he is progressing but didn't come to church last Sunday and was nowhere to be found when we went to our scheduled lesson with him.) So he opened the door and he was SUUUPER sick!! He has Chikungunya. I have no idea how to spell that but it’s a disease very common in the DR from mosquitoes but it’s not that common here. You start out with flu like symptoms and a really high fever for a few days, then you are just drained and when you are almost healed your body breaks out into a rash and all your joints ache. The pain in your joints comes and goes for the next 2-3 years!  So the poor guy had that but he told us that he wants us to come by tomorrow. So we went to his house and we had a little lesson with him and after he started telling us how grateful he was for us. He said that he knows this is right and he isn't going to let any of these challenges (like getting stabbed with a rusty nail, or getting Chikungunya) stop him from doing what he knows is right. He said he had been reading a lot lately because he doesn't have much else to do and he knows that this is the true church. We then shared our testimonies with him and the spirit was so strong and it was much needed after the beginning of the week we had. Who would have known an answer to a prayer would have come from a special investigator. He came to church this week too even with his sickness!  Don't worry its not contagious but he really is a great guy! I wish you could meet him/communicate with him
It’s interesting that the First Presidency is emphasizing Sabbath day observance because that is needed out here BIG TIME. The small branches just don't quite know what they are doing and sometimes they are off the mark a little. In my branch in the DR I had to explain to the Branch President and the rest of the leaders that the sacrament is an ordinance and that the words needed to be said correctly, not "close enough" Then I had to go and explain to them what an ordinance was. It’s kinda weird how we take the strong leadership (like you, dad) for granted back home. This week my branch president and his wife had questions about the plan of salvation because they weren't sure if we were resurrected and also weren't sure about some things about the spirit world. We explained it to them and then I gave them a big list a scriptures that talk about the different resurrections and stuff and told her to read Alma 40 and it’s just kinda crazy to me how different the church is here! But this branch is awesome and it is working very hard! Hope the 25th ward is doing well too!
Also Papiamento is coming along, but it’s a weird language!!
Elder Harsh

Monday, May 18, 2015

Week 40

Hi Everyone,
Wow the weeks are starting to go by so quickly!
This week we contacted this lady who warmly welcomed us in and sat down and we started getting to know her and turns out she has been searching and searching trying to find "God's true church" but hasn't found it yet. When we heard that we got really excited ya know, because we have "God's true church" But we caught her right as she was about to leave and she has 4 kids all really involved in sports and a job so she is super busy but told us to come back next Sunday. It sounds like a story straight out of the Ensign so we will have to see if we can help her gain a testimony!
We have an investigator that wants to be baptized but he didn't come to church for some unknown reason yesterday so we will have to have a ‘come to Jesus meeting’ with him (literally) and see what the heck is going on.
When we are teaching we usually teach in Spanish and sometimes English but when we are out we usually start off the conversation in Papiamentu.
This island is actually super chill. Like up until last week I didn't think this island had police. The government has a program set up where you have a loan guaranteed when you graduate high school to go to Holland to study in a university, so this island is lacking in people in the 18-30 age range.  But wait till I get transfered to Aruba, then come visit me, because Aruba is a smaller island but has like 10 times as many people. It’s like the party island. Aruba is the party island, Curasao is the crime island, and Bonaire is the Retirement island.
 Earlier today we went and explored some of the beaches. There aren't any sandy beaches on the island they are all rocky and full of coral but it was way fun to go explore and we found a few small caves that we explored! It was way fun. Also we found a HUGE iguana this morning. I got a picture of it from far away, but when I tried to get closer it ran off. But this sucker was like  2 feet long WITHOUT the tail! Biggest one I have ever seen! Also we saw a donkey fight this morning. It was gnarly. 
I am having such a fun time out here and hope all is good back home with you guys too!

Elder Harsh

Monday, May 11, 2015

Week 39

Elder Harsh didn't have much of a letter, because we had just talked to him yesterday.  He looked great and sounded great and is enjoying the Island of Bonaire.  This is about a guy they had contacted a few weeks ago, that is interested in the Gospel and is on track for baptism.
Thanks for your support!!!

Hey I really have no idea what to say because we just talked yesterday!
But turns out Vacero tripped and fell at a construction site and got stabbed in the thigh with a rusty nail, and so he couldn't make it to church. He couldn't even walk when we went to visit him that night- poor guy!  But he is still the same ol’ Vacero and we are going to bring him dinner tonight! But yeah that’s about the only update I have, but it was awesome talking to you yesterday!!

Elder Harsh

Monday, May 4, 2015

Week 38

Hi Everyone,
Well it’s a good thing you said something about skyping next week or I would have completely forgot!! Time sure is flying by!  Let’s skype at 7:00 MY TIME. I can’t remember if you guys are 2 or 3 hours behind so I think 7 is a safe bet. As for my week, It was great! Papiamentu is still a work in progress though, but most of our investigators are Latinos that moved here so their preference is Spanish!
 This week after working really hard we managed to get 3 investigators to church, which is unheard of here in the islands!! One of them was a contact Elder Atkinson made at the end of last transfer who absolutely loved it! He said he felt like he was part of a big family! He is planning on being baptized at the end of the month so we will have to keep working with him! One of the others that came was this lady we have been working really hard on, but she said she didn't want to come to church because she doesn't want to commit to anything until she is sure about it. After a long lesson about recognizing the spirit I finally read her the words of Jesus when he said "come and see" and SHE DID! Woo.
We also got a senior couple this week! They are from sandy Utah and the husband speaks Dutch! (When the mission changes these islands will be Dutch mission, so I might have to learn that too....) But they are way cool! Also unlike the DR where you have stray cats, dogs, chickens, and naked children everywhere, this island just has a bunch of stray Donkeys,  goats, and iguanas. To answer your question, yes, I did catch a giant iguana this week :) I CAUGHT IT WITH MY BARE HANDS! I got a gnarly slice up my arm from its dumb tail but it was so worth it!!
Also we met some American tourists at church and they invited us over for a BBQ and it was the best dang food I have had in 8 months!!!
It’s not so bad being around all the beaches because it’s mostly a place for scuba divers and there aren't any good swimming beaches on the Island. The only problem is there is a lot of kiteboarding which is something I have ALWAYS wanted to try.  So sometimes we will be out riding around and see a bunch of those kites up in the air.
This week president is coming to visit and wants to meet with our investigators so that will be very good because he is a spiritual powerhouse!  Also we have no idea if I will stay in the islands or not. Usually the missionaries that go to the islands just come out here for about 9 months and head back to the DR, but with the whole mission change going on we have no idea! I will try and sneak some information out of President while he is here with us this week.
 That’s about all I can remember from this week but I can't wait to talk to you guys Sunday!!!!

Elder Harsh

Lookin' good!