Monday, August 31, 2015

Week 55

Hi Everyone!
To start off by answering your questions, no we have not felt any effects of the hurricane. Aruba is a DESERT. It has rained once in the middle of the night the whole time I have been here. So the days are all super hot and humid. Ya know, serving in paradise haha.
My companion is doing good, but it’s kinda hard for him to learn the language because whenever anyone sees him struggling with English, they all say "I understand Spanish, just talk in Spanish." The problem is that if he never goes through that tough struggle phase he will never get the language. But from experience, that struggle phase is tough!! So it’s kinda good and bad for him at the same time. As for our meals, from time to time we help this member with his work of putting fish in a freezer whenever he gets a shipment too big to handle, and afterwards he gives us these frozen swai fillets that are delicious!! So apart from the exception here and there, I have been living the past 2 months on lucky charms and swai. And I love it!
 But apart from that this was a kinda slow week. We had a lot of lessons fall through and that means lots of walking in the sun. E. Carillo kept saying that we must be doing something wrong, so we took out the mission manual and after reading some of it I asked him if we are being obedient why is it still hard? This was a question I asked myself in Bonaire so I was prepared to help him. He couldn't come up with anything so I just told him that’s the way it goes. It’s not supposed to be easy or else it wouldn't be worth it. Sometimes the struggle is the part that makes it all worth it. I learned that myself while working with Vaquero in Bonaire and that was sure worth it! I told him as long as we are working hard and doing what the Lord expects of us, blessings will come. Maybe not tomorrow but they will always come. So we decided to keep working hard and have a special fast.
Anyways I'll end with a less serious story. We were biking home and we saw a massive python on the side of the road, and it look like it had been hit by a car. This sucker was over 4 feet long, so of course we stopped to mess with it. It was dark and we thought it was dead so we fearlessly went up to it and I started doinking it with my shoe. Welp that sucker was NOT dead and it jumped at me and I was caught so off guard that I just dropped my bike and jumped back. Well then my bike landed on top of it so we then spent the next 15 minutes poking it with sticks trying to get it to slither out from under my bike so that we could get home!
Have a good week

Elder Harsh

Here are a few pictures of the baptism of Vaquero.  He really means a lot to Blake.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Week 54

Hi Everyone!
Well this week went by pretty quick! Elder Carillo is doing good, but he is in what I like to call the CCM Hangover. It’s something that every missionary goes through sometime in their first transfer where they realize that missionary work is hard. This week the schedule, the heat, the rejection, and everything else seemed to come down on him! The poor guy was literally falling asleep while reading during our study and it was really funny. After lunch I was trying to help him memorize words one day and he kept falling asleep, so I would throw the nearest object at him and he would wake up and keep going. This went on for about 15 minutes until I ran out of things to throw and I decided to let him sleep. But he is still very motivated and he is working hard, so thats good. Luckily for me he isn't homesick, because i'm not so good at giving comfort. I would tell him "tu tienes que crecer tu pelotitos. Vayate afuera hasta tu puedes ser un hombre." or something like that. So it’s good that that isn't a problem for now.
But this week we had something incredible happen! There is a family that lives next door to Juan David. The three kids are 12, 10, and 9 and Sister Patricia always takes them to church and they love it. Tons of missionaries have taught the mom and the kids, but the mom kinda has her other church and the dad never talks to anyone that comes to talk about religion. So we were kinda stumped on what to do with them, so we would just go and teach them a little lesson to practice my Papiamento and them talk with the mom in Spanish. But one day the mom was sick, so she sent the dad to go tell us to come back another day. He came out and he was just drunk enough to want to talk to us, but sober enough to remember what we said. Perfect! So turns out he likes to read and has read a lot of stuff online about our church. He said he didn't have a problem with his kids going, but he had some questions because of some false things he had read online. We talked with him for over an hour and shared all about the restoration and answered his questions and we left on a really good note, and he agreed to let us come back to talk to him! Later that week he was at work, but we were talking with the mom and she said that not only was actually interested in hearing more from us, she was starting to think that maybe there might be something about "us mormons". Funny how the truth does that to you! But it was a very big step for this family and it was incredible because missionaries have been trying with them forever. I guess now is just their time so we are going to have to work with them a lot! It’s incredible how much the gospel would bless their lives. It would solve almost every problem they have. I love this Gospel!
 In other news, I asked Juan David where to get my hair cut, and he told me this place to go to today. I asked him very clearly "Do they know how to cut white people hair?" and he said yes. Welp they don't and now my hair is pretty messed up. So to sum it up this week was great spiritually but now there's a funny looking white guy wandering the streets of Aruba with a blue book in his bag. And I wouldn’t want it any other way!

Love Elder Harsh

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Week 53

Hi Everyone!
Well this week we went to the airport and a very lost looking kid from Equador came through the door...without any bags! To start off this poor guys mission -the airline lost BOTH of his bags!! But his name is E Carillo and he is incredible! He got taken from the MTC after only 2 weeks of learning English and he actually learned quite a bit! But it is SO NICE to be able to speak Spanish all day. I really did miss it! But we still teach in all three languages so we both have work to do!
We have been having so much success contacting which is good because we needed to get more people to teach! But the best thing that happened this week (besides finding a huge hidden cave on the south tip of the island) was this! We were going to go contacting but then I felt like it would be better to visit a really old member who is very lonely and lives in the area. So we went and visited with her for a while and afterwards as we were walking back home, a man came up to us and told us that he had received lessons from other missionaries and wasn't ready to quit drinking, but now he wants to and he showed us where he lives and told us to come by this week! Also the old member was very grateful that we stopped by because she is very lonely (28 cats lonely).
 It just goes to show how much good you can do if you listen to the spirit. It’s very important and I love having E Carillo who helps keep the spirit with us so well!

Elder Harsh

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Week 52

Hey Everyone!
HUMP DAYYYYYYYY. Almost. Is that still funny to say or did that go out of style?
 Anyways tomorrow is transfers and I have big news!! I am training!! I'm getting a newbie from Ecuador who only speaks Spanish, and I am going to have to teach him English and Papiamento!! Wooo. I hope he's cool.
Also E. Foote goes home tomorrow which is a bummer because we had a lot of fun together but on the bright side I will send him home with my SD card that has about 500 photos on it! Your welcome mom!
 As for this week there was a lot of people who wanted to feed us to say goodbye to E foote so it was awesome! One day we had a late breakfast after a service, a lunch, and two dinners! We were DYING at the last dinner but it was red snapper with this coconut sauce and it was so good!! We haven't been fed all transfer but now they are all making up for it!
Also today we went and saw a really cool WWII bunker and went exploring and found a cave! We didn't have a flashlight so we couldn't go in too far so we will go back next week with the new guy. Also we went up to this big hill on the very southern tip of the island and we could see Venezuela! I tried to take a picture but it didn't really work. But it was really cool.

Elder Harsh

Monday, August 3, 2015

Week 51

Hey Everyone!
This week was good! First things first I finally found out our mission address! Its going to be the same deal as last mission, it gets sent to the mission office and when president comes he will give me the stuff.

Elder Blake Harsh
Trinidad, Port of Spain Mission
PO Bag 543
Trinidad and Tobago

Also this week we had the two less actives we had been working with at church again!! We meet in a house and it is getting pretty full! We also made a very cool contact. It is a guy about our age and he started off by saying he wasn't very religious but he let us in anyways and we started talking with him and he was such a chill guy! We spent an entire hour talking before we started teaching anything. He said that his family has talked with missionaries before, but he was never interested because he didn't want to be forced into anything. He also asked if all Americans are as nice as us haha I told him yes. He said he wasn't that religious but he has actually given a lot of thought about his relationship with God and the world. He told us what he thought and most of it was pretty accurate! It was a really positive lesson and we are going back there tomorrow!
 As you know we live on an island so last week we did what every missionary should do which is go have family night on the beach!! We did it with Juan David's family which is good because only him and his mom are members so we had a great time and like always, I did a backflip by the ocean (turns out I can still do one!). I will probably send my memory card home with E Foote who goes home next week but the family took pictures of the family night so I will send some of those in another email to calm my mom down a little. Hope all is well back home!

Elder Harsh