Monday, November 30, 2015

Week 68

Hi Everyone
Well I'm back in good ol’ Aruba!  A missionary in Aruba got denied his immigration extension so we are having an emergency transfer because he becomes illegal on basically I am going back to Aruba on Saturday!(This was written on Thanksgiving day)
 I am going to a different area but same old Aruba. Also that means I am not going to be in Curasau so hopefully you haven't sent any packages yet... if you have dangit I will probably get them someday. I'm up in the Oranjestad area so that means that we have a super nice chapel and awesome members! This is the area I have been wanting to serve in ever since I got out to the islands! The members are so great and it’s such a good feeling to be back in Aruba! It is definitely my favorite island.
I am with Elder Hunt who is from Sandy Utah who went to Skyline and he is way chill. He remembers seeing me do my backflip when I went to Skyline's prom two years ago so that was fun to find out! The only problem was he was with E Atkinson before and so they only have 1 investigator....So this will be the third time in a row I will be building an area up from zero. But with E Hunt it shouldn't be too hard because we work really well together.  We are still on bikes but it’s been cloudy and it’s actually rained a bit! So that’s nice to cool us off and it got us in to a few people's houses! Haha!
As for Christmas, I have no Idea where I am going to be for Christmas but I will eventually be going back to Curasau so I guess I will get it whenever haha.
 I'm loving everything about Aruba but now I have to change my papiamento...again. Great. But besides that I couldn't be more happy with this transfer call!

Elder Harsh

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Week 67

Hi Everyone,
Well this week was great! Every other transfer we have a zone conference with Pres. Egbert and so this Thursday we flew over to Aruba for the Friday zone conference and spent all day at the conference and then flew back Friday night! It was lots of fun to see other missionaries because we don't get to do that very often haha. Then President came to Curacao and he FINALLY re-arranged the branch presidency. The branch president we had was straight awful. There are tons of people who don't go to church because of that man. It was pretty bad, but we got all that fixed up and this week alone we had 20 more people than the average come so once we get word out we should start seeing a lot more people come back to church! Even with missing two days we still made a bunch of contacts and made a lot of plans to see less-actives because there are tons that were less active because of the President. Also, here in Curacao we have a CHAPEL! It’s so cool! It’s the first time in my mission I have had an actual church building instead of just a house or an old disco-tech...AND I LOVE IT. The outside is still being finished but it should be finished in the next month or so. The inside is done (mostly) and so we are able to have church in it.
Pres. Egbert had his interview with me and he told me his game plan for the Islands and what he wants me to do as a leader out here. He stressed Working with members, strengthening member's testimonies, and making sure the other elders learn and speak Papiamentu. He leaves today at around 4 but he is going to take us to the rib factory before he goes. Perks of being an island elder :) As for your questions mommy, I think the only thing I really need is a new pair of shoes. I have been on bikes a lot so it’s kinda preserved these shoes but they, like me, are becoming very holy with this whole mission experience. Buy the same kind because the dress shoes you can buy here are NOT made to walk in. Also that is my mailing address and E. Garcia said it should work. Haha! We live in a house with the four of us and it’s pretty nice. When I was cleaning under the sink I found a Hanna Montanna poster and so that is hanging up in my room!! I am getting along with Elder Munoz very well and he has lost 15 pounds! Elder Rios is from Mexico/Texas and Elder Garcia is from Honduras. We all have a lot of fun living together haha and it’s just us on the island. But that’s about all for this week, I hope you are all doing well back home! Send me a picture of our house with Christmas lights! (and snow.) J

Elder Harsh

Monday, November 16, 2015

Week 66

Hi Everyone!
Well another week has come and gone and we got lost a little less this week but I'm pretty sure my companion knows the area better than I do! His name is Elder Munoz and he has a really good sense of direction.  It’s crazy to think Caitlin and Jill are in the MTC right now.  Juan David is flying to Provo today to go to the MTC and he called me this morning to say bye. It was great to talk with him! I'm gonna tell them to find him!
Also we made a few really good contacts that are starting to progress and we are getting this area built up! One day we went to an old investigators house who has been investigating the church for about a year but his family especially his wife is pretty against him getting baptized, but he has a super strong testimony! So we went over one day and his wife was home and she started talking with us and next thing we know she is full on yelling at us! I had to hold back my laughter because when people get mad in Papiamentu it sounds hilarious-but my companion couldn't understand anything and he was terrified! She had problems because they have been Catholic their whole lives and she said that if he gets baptized in our church it will ruin her chance for salvation and a bunch of stuff like that. After she was done yelling we committed them to read the Book of Mormon as a couple and pray about it so I really hope they do that. I think we are going to bring a member with us next time we go.....
But as for Christmas, they say the best thing to do is just send it here to the island. Here is the address: #56A Kaya Arana, Mahuma, Curacao. I don't know if I will have to pay to get it but hopefully not!
Also I made the mistake of putting my camera in my checked bag when I flew here to Curacao and now it doesn't really focus so maybe a new camera would be good for Christmas because they are ridiculously expensive here!
But yeah this island is about twice the size of Aruba but only  about half of it is populated, and the rest is sorta desert but it’s the greenest of all three of the islands! We have two brand new missionaries with us so we hear about a lot of things that we have missed out on haha. I feel like I haven't been out that long but they make me feel like I’ve been out forever! But it’s a lot of fun. We are in a 4 man house and its tons of fun. I have only been in 2 man houses my whole mission and it’s kinda boring sometimes but with 4 man houses there is never a dull moment!
It has rained a little bit but usually its early morning or during the night. But one time we were out contacting and we yelled out to this lady and she came out and we had barely gotten her name when we felt a drop or two of rain. She got this really scared look on her face and all of a sudden the heavens opened and it started to POUR! Instead of inviting us in she yelled out "otro biaha!" which means like another time and ran inside, leaving us out in the pouring rain getting soaked. Thanks lady. Anyways that was our week in a nutshell! Hope everything is good back home!

Elder Harsh

Monday, November 9, 2015

Week 65

Hi Everyone!
Holy cow tons has happened this week and it went by super quick! First of all I have a story from back in Aruba! I was waiting to get video evidence sent to me but they must have forgot so I will send that later! But Juan David's mom asked me and E Carrillo to do a special musical number with me on the piano and E Carrillo on the Violin for Juan David's farewell. In Utah language farewell means the Sunday before you leave and I was pretty sure I was going to get transferred so I told her of course I would do it! I can't play the piano but I wasn't going to be there anyways! So then 2 Tuesdays ago we stopped by and she asked us how the song was coming. I told her it was a work in progress and she told us she can't wait for us to perform it at their house for his farewell party THAT FRIDAY....I freaked out a little but we ran to the church and E. Carrillo taught me an accompaniment for "I’ll go where you want me to go" and then we stole the piano from the church and for two straight days from 6:30 to 8 in the morning and from 9:30 to 10:30 I was practicing and practicing and I guess the gift of tongues works for piano too because we performed it on Friday and I only messed up a little! I will send you the video as soon as I get it.
 But then I headed out to Curasau which has been crazy! I got my new comp who is a big (or as we say, fluffy) guy from Nebraska but his parents are Mexican so he already speaks Spanish. He is a great guy but we are on bikes and that is kind of killing him. I think he is going to be my size by the end of the transfer. We live up on the biggest hill on the island and the only way up or down is this super steep hill. Its steeper than the streets up in the avenues in Salt Lake! So going down is way fun but going up is awful haha.
 But we were opening up an area this week so we were given a member list, a map, and a "good luck" and we were on our way. So this week was kinda tough! I was legit lost 87% of the time and sort of lost the rest! You know how I am with directions, and now I have a newbie with me so that’s no help! haha Its rough but we did lots of contacts and slowly we will build it up and I will probably get transferred right as I start to memorize the area. It’s huge and we are on bikes haha. But it’s all good.So this week there was a lot of getting lost and a lot of contacting, but we managed to find a few people to teach and we are starting to build up this area! poko poko.
 If I had one thing that I could change about the islands it would be giving them doorbells! We just have to stand outside the gate and yell Bon Tardi at the top of our lungs until somebody comes out. But the houses are all small and the windows are always open because they don't have ac so it works alright. It was better in the DR where people’s houses were the size of the shed or smaller, but here I feel like people have a lot of missed opportunities because of that custom.
It sounds like a lot is changing with the family, with everyone having babies!   I am not going to recognize our family when I get back! But at least they will be grown enough so that mom won't make me hold them!
 Here the Papiamento is SO DIFFERENT. It is ridiculous! Papiamento in Aruba is so much easier and has a lot more English influence but here it is more pure Papiamentu which means more Dutch and more Papiamentu so it’s different and kinda hard to get used to! Every time I get transferred I have to learn a new language or dialect! But I am using Papiamentu a ton! We use Spanish sometimes but unlike the other islands there are a lot of people here who just speak Papiamentu and not really anything else, so my Papiamentu is going to rock by the end of this transfer. Also here it is called Papiamentu,  not Papiamento, and they will correct you on that....
Hope all is good with you guys!
Elder Harsh

Monday, November 2, 2015

Week 64

Hi Everyone,
Welp we got our transfer calls and...........I am going to Curasao! I get to open up a brand new area, Train a newbie from the MTC, and be District Leader over there! Not gonna lie I am pretty intimidated with this new call!! You all know how great I am with directions and now I have half an island and nobody to show me where anything is!! So that’s gonna be fun but I don't know anything about my new companion yet except for the fact that he is coming straight from the Provo MTC. Hopefully he is cool. I fly out tomorrow and then the adventure starts again!
Here in Aruba they don't Trick or Treat but this year was the first year they had a huge Halloween Party. There were different resorts for different age groups and some of the members said the kid resort was pretty fun! I actually forgot it was Halloween until the other elders banged on our door with creepy masks on scaring us half to death. It was pretty funny!
This week we were riding along and we found the old lady that ran after the bus!! Before anything else could happen I asked her to show us where she lived! Haha she gave us some lemonade and talked about the need of God and the gospel in our lives. It was a good lesson. Also later that night we had to go to Juan David's house to help him with some mission stuff, but on the way we felt like we should contact just one more house. We did and we found the most golden contact I have ever found in my mission! She had tons of great questions, was super open, and I guess it’s hard to explain, but I was super bummed that I won't be able to teach her again. I am really gonna miss Aruba! Today we went and played Beach Volleyball with a guy from Brazil, Macedonia, and the Philippines! It was tons of fun! So tomorrow I head off to Curasao and I am pretty excited but I am really going to have to rely on the help of the Lord this next transfer! Hope all is good with you guys back home!

Elder Harsh