Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Villa Sur II Week 14

Hola!

Elder Palacios and I had another week of miracles! I have never felt like such an instrument in the hands of the Lord. Elder Palacios comes from a very interesting background and although we have many cultural differences, we get along very well and work with the same focus. We realized during the week that we had gone days without talking about anything besides the mission and people with whom we were working. I am so grateful to have been blessed to be with him. 

This Tuesday we helped our Ward mission leader fix his ceiling. I was very humbled and and inspired by the living conditions of so many people here. His ceiling basically was a 1/4 inch piece of cardboard that had begun caving in because of water damage. We did our best to fix things up, but I hope it doesn´t fall!

Elder Palacios and I were walking to an appointment we had and he felt impressed to knock a door. A women came out with a big smile on her face, and when we asked why she was so happy she said that her sister had just passed away the day before. We were confused and she explained that her sister was suffering for a long time. She then went on to tell us that two years ago she had a grandchild who passed away, and the next day two elders showed up on her doorstep. She hadn´t seen any since. She asked us who was sending us to her. It was an incredibly powerful experience. She let us in and we shared with her family part of the Plan of Salvation. She couldn´t attend church this Sunday because of the funeral, but I hope she will be able this week!

A few weeks ago Elder Kennedy and I were walking in the street and a man came up to us and told us he was a member and hadn´t gone to church for a long time. He told us his name (waldo) his address, and every time we pass by he was never there. Any way, Elder Palacios and I passed by his house for the supposed last time and his mom told us she was busy as always and that waldo wasn´t there. We went on to our next plan and a man called after us from down the street. We went and talked with him and he was the brother of waldo. He told us to go back to his house with him. It turns out he wasn´t a member but had really good memories of going to church with his brother. He had recently been let go of work and had time to think about what he wants to do with the rest of his life. He attended with us this week and really enjoyed it. He is pretty much golden. His name is Loren....I think thats how its spelled.

We also have been working with the friend of our neighbors for some time name Mario, and Elder Palacios and I had our first lesson with him this week. We taught him the Restoration and he came to church with our neighbors. He loved the Gospel Principles class on the life of Christ.  

I have been recently studdying a lot about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I never realized how little I understood. I love the way the Scriptures open up the windows to personal revelation. I have learned so much about this marvelous gift the Savior has given us. I know He lives! He is the meaning and greatest gift we can give and recieve this Christmas! Share His love with all! I love and pray for you all!!

Love always,
Elder Harries

Villa Sur II Week 13

Elder Palacios and me posing in our study room

Hola!

Wow! Where do i begin? Let´s just say that this has been one of the most exhausting and thrilling weeks of my life. Elder Palacios is a machine!!!! He comes from Neuquen, Argentina, has 23 years, and loves to work and be obediente. We are striving to work effectively with the members and have seen many miracles this week! I have never felt the Spirit so strongly in my life! 

Dad, Elder Palacios manda saludos! He loved your vos haha. Yes, he has taught me a bunch of it, but as missionaries we always speak with usted. Needless to say my Spanish has progressed rapidly over the past week. It is so hard to type this letter in English. I am helping Elder Palacios learn English, and yesterday we prayed in English to practice. It was so strange, something I haven´t done in over 4 months! I love the Spanish language, especilly the Argentino accent...which I am trying to adquire:)

Elder Palacios and I had a great week together. We get along very well and are both focused on the work. He is the definition of serving with all your "heart, might mind and strength, with an eye single to the glory of God." It was so powerful on the first night as we sat down and wrote goals and plans for our companionship. I have no doubt that the Lord knew exactly what I needed at this point in my mission--a great companion who will push me to be better. I never realized how important who you surround yourself with.

We had many miracles this week! Every tuesday night we hold a "noche de hogar" in the Capilla for the whole ward. It was so awesome to get 5 investigators to come and get to know the members. Unfortunately, none of them attended church on Sunday...one of the biggest weaknesses that we have had in this sector. We are praying and doing everything in our power to help people attend church, but ultimately it is up to them to make the decision to go. 

Omar and Coni have progressed rapidly! They were fulfilling their callings as new members and no doubt in my mind will be strong and faithful for their lives. We are helping them to understand more of the doctrine and to become more comfortable in the Church! What an example to me of pure faith. 

Unfortunately, due to health problems, Willy(man in the wheelchair with the stroke) had to move to live in another part of Santiago, and as such will not be baptized in our ward. However, he was a great example to me and I learned so much from him. His daughter said he should be visiting sometime soon though!

I am so happy to be a missionary representing my Savior Jesus Christ. He lives! May we all find and feel His love during this precious Christmas season! 

Love,
Elder Harries


Sunday, December 7, 2014

Villa Sur II Week 12

The mom of Coni

Omar and Coni

Elder Kennedy and I...right before we changed companions


Elder Palacios and Me




Hola!

Well changes hit Villa Sur II...I am no longer with Elder Kennedy. He went to be a Zone Leader for his last change. Neither of us were expecting it as it was his last change left on the mission. It was hard to say goodbye, because we grew pretty close over the past three months, but his replacement is a machine!!! My new companion is Elder Palacios from southern Argentina! He has a year and a half and is everything and more that I could hope for in a companion! He has strong desries to be exactly obedient and to serve with all his energy. I have no doubt that we will get along very well:))) Even more, I am sure that my spanish will improve exponentially!

This week went by really quickly. Unfortunately Willy, the paralyzed man who was planned to get baptized was in the hospital all week, so he couldn´t make it happen. We plan to have the service soon though. 

Omar and Coni now have callings! Omar was called as the second counselor in the Young Mens, and Coni as a primary teacher! They are really progressing rapidly and becoming an integral part of our ward! They even brought Coni´s mom with them to church and gave us a reference to some friends across the street who we are now teaching! They are so powerful and inspire me every time I see their raw faith!

We had a meeting all together as a mission in which President anounced some pretty incredible things! As a preface, I wrote earlier that as a mission we were one of three missions chosen in the world to do something called Plan Piloto, which streamlines the missionary focus on three things: bautizar mas, retener mas, y reactivar mas. Prior to this plan which started about a year ago, our mission was one of the worst in all of south america, and my current stake was the lowest ratio to attendance in the world..and is still pretty bad. (As reference, we have 1,113 members on our ward list and had 75 in the Capilla on Sunday) Anyway, this plan, along with President´s vision for us has worked miracles. We are now leading all of Chile in terms of baptisms and effectiveness. President Nelson and Christoferson have decided to extend the plan to all of south america, and posibly the world. It is revolutionizing missionary work. I am so happy and can´t wait to see how it affects the Church!

It was powerful to see the effectiveness of members visiting those who are discouraged. We as misisonaries have been visting a family that is less active for some time, and have gotten them to come to church sparatically. However, we brought the president of Young womens with us to a lesson and she was incredible! She invited the two daughters to young womens, and they were mas o menos on coming but she was super persitent and passed by the next day to bring them. They both went and then one of the daughters went to church for the first time in two months! I have such a strong testimony of member missionary work. We as missionaries can only do so much, but when "real" members get involved it makes all the difference! Elder Palacios and I are going to put an emphasis in this area.

I hope that everyone is as excited for the Christmas season as I am! It is such a special time of year! I hope that we can all take time to ponder the true reason Christmas exists, and think about what we can do for our Savior! There is a great new video that came out from our church that can be watched at http://www.mormon.org/Christmas. I love this season and hope we remember our Savior!!

Love you all,
Elder Harries


Friday, November 28, 2014

Villa Sur II Week 11

The Familia Soza and their cactus...They live right next to us...we call them mami and papi:)






Hola!!!

This was an incredible week!! I don´t even know where to start!!! Elder Kennedy and I were pretty sick to start off the week. I think I had a minor flu, and he had a really bad cold. Fortunately we were able to keep on working and it didn´t hold us back. We are striving to be completely obedient and work hard every day. We have had some miracles! 

There is a man named Willy who has been attending church with us for the past few weeks. He is the father of a less active sister and is confined to a wheelchair because of a stroke he had a few years ago. He is completely there mentally, but is paralyzed and cannot speak. He has decided that he wants to be baptized and we are thinking about doing it this weekend!! I am not sure if the family will be able to do it on such short notice, but if not, definitely the week to come!! He is such a humble and happy man! He can only say "si!" and "no", but I feel like he has taught me so much about life!!!

Yesterday was by far the best birhtday of my life! Omar and Coni invited us over for a lesson and to wish me happy birthday. It turns out they also invited Myriam and her children (some recent converts) They came over and brought me a cake!! They sang Happy Birthday and then as with Chilean custom, smashed my face into it!!

However better than the cake was the lesson! We watched a conference talk by Elder Holland about the costs of discipleship, as they have had some difficulties, especially financially. It was so powerful as Myriam, Lizardo(mission leader), Omar and Coni all basically bore powerful testimonies about how they have been changed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I almost began to cry. Coni was talking about the first time we met, and how we found them through their mom who wasn´t really interested. She actually told Coni to tell us her mom was gone, but then she let us in anyway. I know that they were prepared by the Lord and will be an eternal family! I love them so much!!!

Jesus Christ lives, this is His Church! I love you all!!

Elder Harries


Friday, November 21, 2014

Villa Sur II Week 10

Juan (Bautista) Zapata and his dog:)


Hola!

Wow does time fly or what?!! We are almost done with my training!! I have had such an incredible experience with Elder Kennedy and have learned so much from him. It will be sad to see him go in Enero. This week was all sort of a blur, it is so hard to determine what has happened within the past 7 days. 

Something that has stood out to me this week is the power of The Book of Mormon...as a testament of Jesus Christ and the power to bring us closer to God. There is a menos activo named Juan Zapata that we visit a few times a week. He is pretty old and not "all there", but he is super sweet and dedicated to coming to church when his body allows him. He suffered and accident when working on scaffolding 20 years ago. He fell from about 35 feet. Any way, when we first met with him, he told us he couldn´t pray because of his head injury. However, each time we go we have decided to read a chapter of the Book of Mormon to him(he can´t read). Just recently he has been praying!!! It is so cool to see the change that he has made. He always tells us how much more "tranquilo" he feels when we read to him.

We had a special training conference of Friday with President and Hma Barreiros as a mision. It was so powerful to hear the insights they learned and felt during their time with Elder Nelson and other General Authorities. I don´t know how much I have shared about them, but they are truly incredible people! They radiate with the pure love of Christ and make me want to be better each time I speak with them. President Barreiros came from a poor family in Brazil, but basically made his way to becoming a successful business man by his hard work, and blessings of the Lord. Hermana Barreiros is a Gospel giant, and her ability to explain the scriptures in incredible. She said that when looking for her husband, she said that she wanted someone who was very hard working. She shared that President is the most hardworking man she has ever met. In their entire marriage she has never seen him wake up past 7:00. I am so glad that the Lord sent me to be taught by such incredible people!

We had a Family Home evening with Omar and Coni at the house of one of Omar´s old friends from school who is a menos activo. It turned out great! It is so cool to see the new strength and power of friendship that strengthened both of their testimonies! I hope to be able to do it again sometime! Omar and Coni are progessing extremely rapidly! They made us sign a contract that we would be there for their sealing in the temple next November. It was of their own initiative and so awesome to see! They are having some financial problems and dont have electricity. We have been doing lessons with them by flashlights and they told us that they read the scriptures together with a candle!! haha I love them so much! Please pray for them that they will be able to push through the hard times as new members!!!

It has been pretty sad as we have had to drop some investigators who aren´t progressing. Commitments are very hard for a lot of people here. President emphasized in the training meeting the importance of commitements in helping people repent. We are striving to be obedient in all things and bring souls to Christ! Thanks for the love and support!

Love,
Elder Harries

Monday, November 10, 2014

Villa Sur II Week 9

Hola!

Wow! I cannot believe we are already halfway done with this transfer! This week flew by! First things first, the conference with Elder Nelson was incredible! I walked away so uplifted and with a stronger testimony of living prophets and apostles on the Earth today. As I shook his hand and looked into his eyes, I knew he was an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. In total we heard from Elder Viñas, Elder Christensen (Presidency  of the Seventy), Elder Nelson and their wives. I wish that I could share all the incredible things that were discussed, but I will briefly explain what Elder and Sister Nelson shared. (Unfortunately I forgot my notes in the pension....somethings never change)

Sister Nelson told us that if there were two things that she would have us "see" every day they would be (1) Who we were before we came to this Earth and (2) All those on the other side who are helping us. We were valiant disciples of Christ before we were born. We made covenants about the things we would do while here. Although we cannot remember, we should earnestly seek to find out our potential, and fulfill the tasks on our "premortal list" before any other worldly pursuit.

Elder Nelson spoke for nearly 40 minutes solely on the Abrahamic Covenant, citing scripture from all four standard works...linking them all together masterfully. I thought I understood the significance of the Abrahamic Covenant before....I really wish that I could share everything that he said, but without my notes, and due to the sacred nature of the material, I think I will write it down and send it in a letter so I don´t mess it up. 

Besides the conference on Saturday, we had an incredible week. Elder Kennedy and I get along really well and are being as obedient as possible. We have found some really great people, and are hoping for some baptisms in December! I love this area and the incredible people here!

Some fun stories:
We were walking to the bus stop through the ferria, and I saw a razor for hair! I asked the guy how much it costs and it was a mil (about $1.75). I now don´t have to use a voltage transformer!!!

Tuesday night Elder Kennedy and I were going to the pension and we saw a cabinet thing on the side of the road. We needed something like it so we took it home! haha we figured we could use it more than the dump truck or flaites(gangsters) who would burn it in the middle of the street for fun! Ill send some pics next week.

Last monday night we were walking home and walked past this crazy man with a sack over his shoulder. I got this super bad feeling. We started walking super fast back for the pension. We go there and the members next door were outside. We talked for a few minutes, and then went back for our house. As Elder Kennedy opened the gate, the crazy man rounded the corner. He saw us and started yelling and ran at us. I got inside and was fumbling the keys and almost crapped my pants. I got the gate shut as his face was like 2 feet from mine. I think he just wanted food, but it was pretty funny afterwards, because it felt like a movie when I was fumbling the keys and Elder Kennedy was saying "get inside! get inside!" Hahaha I love the mission!

I am so happy to be here and have felt the Spirit so powerfully! I know this work is true and that the Lord protects and watches over His children! I love you all!!

Love,
Elder Harries

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Villa Sur II Week 8



Hola!

This week has been a great one! I don´t even know where to start....it felt like everthing just got away from me haha. I´ll start with the best news first!

Omar and Coni got baptized this Saturday and confirmed on Sunday! I am so happy for them! It was incredible to see the change in their life! They were beaming! However it almost didn´t happen! We told them to meet us at the Capilla early for their baptism that started at 6. It was 5:55 and they still hadn´t arrived, so I called Coni. She said that she was "ocupada" and would call me back in a few minutes. Elder Kennedy and I decided to run to their house.

It turned out that Omar and Coni had an argument about some small thing (which is really strange because I have never seen nor heard of them even speak rudely to each other), and Omar said that he didn´t want to go to the baptism. He still wanted to get baptized but another time. When we arrived we were able to sort things out, and he really did want to get baptized, he was just frustrated. It is crazy how hard Satan works to stop people (esecially the strong ones) from doing things that will bless their lives forever. I baptized Omar, and Elder Kennedy baptized Coni. We swapped for the confirmations. After the service, which was beautiful, they were both beaming and holding hands again:) I felt the Spirit so strongly. During fast and testimony meeting yesterday there were around four testimonies on the temple! I cannot wait for them to be sealed! They are so great!

On a less fun note, I had diarreah for the entire week...yes 7 days straight. It just went away yesterday. I must have got a bug or something because Elder Brooks, one of the Elders in our ward but a different sector, had pretty much the same thing. I didn´t stay in the pension though. I was very fortunate to always find somewhere to "go" when i needed to. This is nothing short of a miracle because public toilets do not exist in this part of chile hahaha.

We had a lesson with this inactive old man that we found on Friday. He was of the very nature/health/spirtual type. He is from Argentina and hasnt attended in 20 years. It was really sad to see how twisted some of his beliefs had become. However, it was really cool, because he immediately noticed my scoliosis, and did some weird chiropractic(sp) stuff on me that actually helped. He also read Elder Kennedy´s and my personalities within like 3 minutes of talking. It was really cool, but I dont see him progressing so I dont think we´ll pass by for a while.

We found an inactive lady named Soledad and her family this week. It turns out that they own the biggest gas company around. Elder Kennedy and I keep joking that we are going to baptized the rest of the family and get free gas for ever! Hahaha but all jokes aside they are incredible and we hoped to have them all come to church, but there was a death in the family. They should attend this week! Soledad is really friendly and excited about coming back! She has some friends from the ward from when she was younger, so we are going to try and do a noche de hogar with them together! Cant wait to see how it turns out!

Today was crazy! We were supposed to cut our hair for Elder Nelson, and as Elder Kennedy was cutting mine, my razor broke. The voltage is too strong even with a transformer it just blew out..oops haha. so I walked around with a half shaved head until I got the rest cut off in a shop. Hahah it was pretty funny, but stinks about the razor. I am doing great and love it here in Chile. I think its a bit different from the resort Mom and Dad are staying in, but the people are the same:) I love my Savior and know He lives. Fasting and prayers of faith bring miracles. Love you all!!!

Your Missionary,
Elder Harries

Monday, November 3, 2014

Villa Sur II Week 7




Bishop Yanez and wife. He is from Spain:)

Hola!

What a week! Where do I begin! Can I start by saying that God is a God of miracles and love! He is so aware of our needs and never gives us more than we can handle! This week has been another very exciting and fulfilling time to be a servant in the Lord´s vineyard!

The weather this week was extremely hot! 32 degrees celcius and more....close to 90 if my mental math is correct....been a while since I´ve thought about school haha. The pure temperature is not that bad, the Sun is the problem! I have never felt such a strong Sun! It literally pierces the skin and feels like a hot iron...a tangible electromagnetic wave you could say. Haha yes mom, I have been using lots of sunscreen, although I am still pretty burnt. This week is supposed to be a lot cooler.

Omar and Coni got married on Friday!!! I am so happy for them! They had the wedding in the house and it was so packed! Probably 60 people...all relatives and friends. Elder Kennedy and I only stayed for the actually ceremony. We were standing outside of the house waiting for it to start, when Coni´s aunt came and dragged us right into the house behind Omar and Coni! Lets just say Elder Kennedy and I are in all of the pictures...Im sure most of the family is not happy, but I thought it was really neat and symbolic:P  We are really excited for their baptism this Saturday!

We had probably the strangest and funniest experience last Thursday. We were at the home of the Moralez Gonzalez Family (Family of 5 investigating the church) for "once"(small dinner) and a lesson. We had the lesson, and just sat down for once. Brother Gonzalez is definitely Chilean...which means he love to talk. It´s actually quite common here. People will go on talking for 10 straight minutes changing topics....all without breathing or pausing for your input. Well, he was on one of his monologues, and Elder Kennedy and I were looking at our watches and sweating  (we have a rule to be in the pension by 9:30). It was 9:18 and we live about a 8 minute walks away. I said a quick prayer to help us be obedient....

then I had the thought to cough. Haha so I did! It sounded so real! It competely stunned Brother Gonzalez, and took him out of his trance. I kept on having a quite realistic cough attack. Elder Kennedy was able to change subjects and we got up and left! I still don´t know how it worked! We ran home and made it just in time. 1 Nephi 3:7 is so true! 

7 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.

Elder Kennedy and I died laughing. The look on the Brother´s face was priceless.

We are still having trouble getting some people to church. Sunday mornings are the time for one of the Ferrias....a huge market that runs the length of the street. We left during one of the classes yesterday to find and bring some people to church. We found Maria Soledad (recen convert) in the Ferria and brought her to church! The Sabbath Day is a real struggle for some people here! We are trying to show pure love and help them understand the importance of taking the Sacrament! I love this work! I love the mission! I love my Savior and know that all people can change! Repentance is real!

Love you all,
Elder Harries


Monday, October 13, 2014

Villa Sur II Week 5




Hola!

What a week! I feel like things are really starting to get in a rhythm. I am really beginning to love the mission and it is becoming second nature to speak in Spanish! I love these people...even those that hate missionaries;) I really wish some people would just give us a chance sometimes though! We just want to help, but fortunately, everyone has agency, the ability to choose. I can´t imagine how the Lord feels when people reject Him.

I have loved hearing from Mom and Dad about teaching seminary on Doctrine and Covenants. I love those scriptures!! I studdied D&C 112 this week! What a powerful message to all of us! I love these verses:

 10 Be thou humbleand the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers.

19 Wherefore, whithersoever they shall send you, go ye, and willbe with you; and in whatsoever place ye shall proclaim my namean effectual door shall be opened unto you, that they may receive my word.

I have had such enriching personal studies this week! The pattern of morning studies is defintely something I could not go without!

Something pretty hilarious happened at Zone Conference! We were having an incredible conference! Presidente and Hermana Barreiros are so inspiring! So we had divided for smaller classes with the Assistents, and they were talking about Ward Councils. They had a powerpoint, and BOOM! Up popped a picture with mom and Ryan Smith in it! I about died!!!! It was so fun to see her beautiful face! I went up to the assitents and asked where they got the picture and they said it was from Google haha! Your famous mom! I am pretty sure it was the one from the Ensign!

I have been studying a lot about faith and prayer lately. I realized that faith is something that is always difficult. Before the mission I thought it would be a lot easier to have faith because I was a missionary. To the contrary! The more we use this muscle, the more the Lord trusts us to grow it! I have found that as we pray and act, we find more ways to use the faith we already have, thus growing it. We then recieve a witness of the faith (Ether 12:6). It is a sort of upward spiral!

I have also realized the importance of viewing people with Christlike love, Charity. As we look at others as they can become, not as who they are, we along with them begin to change and grow together! I love my companion Elder Kennedy! He is such an incredible example of hard work and courage! I learn from him every day! It will be a sad day when we separate.

I know that this work is true. Jesus Christ is leading this Church. The Book of Mormon is true. As we strive diligently to become more like Christ, we change. We then are in a position to help others change as well. This mission has taught me so much about my Savior. I am happier than I have ever been! I love you all!

Con Amor,
Elder Harries




Monday, October 6, 2014

Villa Sur II Week Four


General Conference in the Gringo room! Felt like America!


Crammed micro


Hola!!

What a week! We were able to watch all of the General Conference in English...besides the native Spanish speakers:) Wasn´t that incredible for the speakers to be able to speak in their native language?!? I learned so much!! I´ll get to that in a moment, but first the weekly review.

I forgot to mention a very special experience that we had last week! Omar and Coni, our investigators took the challenge to read and pray about the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith and the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. Coni said that as she sat on her knees waiting for an answer, she had a vision/dream of Elder Kennedy and me. She saw our faces and they were shining very brightly. "illuminado" is the word she used in spanish. It was so powerful and they have been so faithful in reading the Book of Mormon together every night. They are such an inspiration to me!

I have noticed that genuine service is a very easy way to build confidence with people who don´t know you or your message. We have had great success with people by simply offering them service and helping with small things. Jesus Christ is our perfect example in this area!

It has surprised me how little members of the Church, recent converts and active members alike, understand about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It is the center of our entire message, and yet it is hardly understood at all. Elder Kennedy and I have been working very hard to teach in a simple yet profound way the incredible Gift of our Savior, Jesus Christ. It makes me think back to the comment by Elder Callister in the autographed book I have of his. "I hope this book allows you to teach the Atonement with power and clarity on the mission!"

Ok! Now to General Conference! I had so many personal questions going in to the conference, and I was amazed as it felt like all of the speakers were speaking directly to me! All of my questions were answered within the first hour of the first session! I am so pumped to go out and put these answers to use! I realized that I had been slacking in my personal development, and was not taking enough intiative. We have this great gift from God, agency--the ability to act. We need to use it often and wisely! I absolutely loved the talk by Elder Robbins about who do you face? It was exactly what I needed! I also loved Elder Christofferson and Elder Uchtdorf´s talks!!! Every talk was awesome for that matter!!! 

In short I saw three major themes this conference:
1. Take personal responsibilty and act. Determine who you are going to be and who you are going to serve, and do it.
2. Use often the right to personal revelation.
3. Follow the Prophet.

I love you all and hope you are all doing well! You are in my prayers!!!

Love,
Elder Harries

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Villa Sur II Week Three

Hola!

Time truly does fly when you are on the mission! Today marks two months since I left home! That blows my mind! It makes every moment so precious, and I don't want to waste a minute! This week has been so incredible! I learned so much about myself and others! The Lord has blessed us with many miracles!!

Elder Kenedy and I helped our first investigators decide to be baptized! Their names are Omar and Coni and they have so much faith! They already have plans to get married on the 24th, so we will be holding the baptismal service on the 1 of November! They came to church on Sunday and really enjoyed it! I am so happy for the faith they are developing!

Members are so crucial to the work! Elder Kenedy and I were walking in a small pasaje when all of a sudden we hear "Elders!" It was a man who had just been baptized 16 months ago! He was with his work partner outside her house! He had been sharing with her all about the change in his life since he joined the church. She had us in and we taught her with her work partner. She is very interested, and now has a great support system. She has a large family that has a lot of faith!

I have learned so much about life in these short weeks. I thought that I knew everything and that the mission wouldn't be too challenging for me. How wrong I was. I have been deeply humbled as I have sought the Lord's guidance and counsel every minute of every day. I know that each mission is uniquely designed for every person. Every challenge and person I have met have taught me what I need to change in order to more fully follow Christ's example. The Lord sometimes brings us to our knew in order to lift us onto higher ground! I don't know everything, but I know that the Lord loves me and is with me in every step of the way!

Matthew 16:25 is so true! When we lose our life for the Lord, we find out who we are and what our potential is! I love you all! Thanks for all the prayers! You are in mine!

With Love,
Elder Harries

Villa Sur II Week 2

Our Chapel. The nicest building in town surrounded by a 20 foot high green fence and barbed wire:)


 Cueca (national dance)
 Ward activity with less active:)
Hola!

What a week! Where do I begin?...

This week was a very festive one! Chile's National independence day is the 18th of September, so everyone had work off from Wednesday to Sunday. I thought this would be perfect to get into people's homes! However, it was a little harder than I thought. Chileans work super hard, and when they have their days off, which is hardly ever, they take full advantage of them....especially where I live:)

I would say that one in every five people on the street was either drunk, high, or both. It is so sad to see the poor decisions of some people! They have so much potential, but the environment, their choices, and the choices of others makes it so hard for some of these people to have success. It has made me realize that we have so many incredible opportunities to take advantage of at home in America!

We had a really fun Ward Activity on the 18th! We got to go and watch some national dances, listen to some songs and have a good time with the members. We have a moderately strong ward here in Villa Sur. We draw an average of 75 members to church each sunday. It is really frustrating because we could do so much more! President has started this thing where one companionship leaves church and goes to look for investigators and less actives. We left and knocked about 10 doors, but "no one was home"

We had an incredible miracle this week. The Zone leaders challenged us to find a family of five on Friday. We had worked all day without any success. at 8:30, right before heading in, I asked Elder Kennedy if we could offer a prayer to find a family. We did, and then no more than 10 minutes later we knocked on a door and I asked how many people were is his family. Cinco:) He let us in an we taught his wife and he. This work is real. The Lord lives and is directing it. When we lose ourselves in the work our live change. I love my Savior. He has carried me this week! Love and pray for you all at home!!

Con amor,
Elder Harries

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Villa Sur II Week 1



mission home area ...Oh and that pic I sent home was an accident last week. That was Elder Williams, the friend of Kevin Colton that I got along with.




Our street. One of the nicer ones:)

Hola!

I´ll start off by saying this has by far been the most trying, yet fulfilling week of my life! I am in the Ochogavia Zone, and my sector is Villa Sur II...we are in the Ghetto.

Elder Kenedy is great! He is the District Leader for our district. He speaks the language very well and is friendly! We get along very well. Our personalities are both relatively mild so we haven´t had the least bit of contention this week. As a trainer, it is his responsiblity to take the lead in everything we do, however he is extremely good at including me and asking for my opinions. There hasn´t been a time in which I have sugested something that he completely shut me down. Usually we end up doing what I suggest--he´s just chill about everything haha. He is from San Diego, California and is the youngest of five siblings. He has about 6 months remaining in the mission, which means that we will most likely be together for 6 months here in Villa Sur II. At least that is what he thinks.

The pension we have is pretty average. It is just the two of us together. We have warm showers which is a nice addition. The shower floor doubles as the bathroom floor, and the drain smells and doesn´t drain quickly, but besides that we are several levels above camping:) The electricity goes out whenever you use more than two appliances, but it hasnt really been too bad of a problem. I can´t complain at all though, it is much nicer than most of the homes in which I have been.

Elder Kenedy and I are both new to our sector (white-wash), so our first few days were slow. We also weren´t able to leave the pension at all on Thursday, because aparently the 11 of Sept is a dangerous holiday here. Last year they burnt micros(buses) and crazy stuff like that. We had a lot of fun just the two of us in a 20 by 20 foot space haha. But besides that we have seen some great progess. We have been doing a lot of contacting in our mile by mile (if that) area. I pretty much know my way around. 

We found 5 new investigators this week, and taught 18 lessons. This is an ok week according to mission standards, but we were white washed and in the middle of transfers so we should see some more progress next week. We are one of four missions in the world that is on Pilot Plan. Basically it is a simplified mission work system that helps with reactivation. It seems to have had a lot of success here.

I have had many incredibly spriritual experiences already! All of our new investigators were out of our way, but I saw the house and had the thought to go contact it. It is incredible how the Lord works. Be obedient, work hard and the Lord will put people in your path.

My first lesson on my first full day was very powerful for me. It was with a recent convert named Maria soledad. As I testified of the Book of Mormon I had the most powerful and incredible feeling fill my heart! I began to cry. I knew more in that moment, than I have ever in my life that this book is true. I am here for a reason. I am going to work as hard as I can to bring souls to Christ. He lives. This work is not mine, but His. I am so happy!!

Love,
Elder Harries

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Villa Sur II Week 1

MISION CHILE SANTIAGO OESTE

Presidente Jose A. Barreiros

Correos, Casilla 149

Pajaritos 1921
Maipú, Chile
Fono: 56-2-531-2258

10 September 2014

Dear Brother and Sister Harries,

Sister Barreiros and I were pleased to welcome your son, Elder Harries, to one of the finest missions in the world, the Chile Santiago West Mission.  He is well and happy, and we are impressed with his enthusiasm for the work.  After greeting him at the MTC and a brief tour of the beautiful city of Santiago, we arrived at our mission Office. I interviewed your son.  My Assistants and office missionaries then gave him a brief orientation to the mission.  We had a delicious lunch together, he met his new companion, and that afternoon he left the mission home and departed for his first area of labor.

Elder Harries has been assigned to work with Elder Kennedy, who will serve as his training companion.  Trainers are chosen for their competence, patience and dedication, and are selected after prayerful consideration.  With this letter we are including a photograph taken of your son and his new companion with Sister Barreiros and myself.

Please accept our deep appreciation for raising such a fine son.  We feel a genuine fellowship with you in supporting and providing him this opportunity to grow spiritually as he labors to bring souls unto Christ.  It is my prayer that the Lord will inspire us all to sustain him in this challenging assignment.  Please write him frequently, weekly if possible.  Express your love, support, and confidence in him.  You will witness miraculous changes in his life as he engages fully in the service of others.

Being parents ourselves, we understand your desire to occasionally send packages.  For your information, packages sent to your missionary through FedEx often require large duty fees which must be paid by the missionary.  Those sent through Global priority mail, marked missionary supplies and valued less than $100 usually arrive duty free and within 2 weeks. But currently there is a mail strike here in Chile, so please communicate with your son through Email.

If you have any questions or if we can assist you in any way, please do not hesitate to write.

Sincerely,

President Jose A. Barreiros
Chile Santiago West Mission


Elder Bangerter y Elder Wagner
Misión Chile Santiago Oeste
Secretarios Ejecutivos
0225312258 / 94401463



 Here is a few more pictures.  Your sons new companion is Elder Kennedy,who is a district leader.  He is neat guy and will be a good influence.  Elder Harries was so excited this afternoon.  There is a picture of the trainers waiting to meet their new companion.  It is fun to watch as they come out of the building to find their trainer. This is a really good group of missionaries. Many of them were a little scared today as now real missionary experience begins.  They will adjust in time.  PD is on Monday so he should email you.  Also he wrote me a very nice letter.    Elder Bertagna