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:)


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!!

Elder Harries

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Villa Sur II Week 1


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.


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

Thursday, September 4, 2014

MTC Week 5

I cannot believe that I only have one week left! I am so excited and ready to get out into the real field! So....this week has been one of many changes! I have a new companion...namely Elder Pomar. No, Elder Banks did not go home:) What happened is there was a new Latino District that came in (They only stay for two weeks), but it was composed of 8 Hermanas and only one Elder. President Doll asked me if I would be willing to be a member of this district. Elder Pomar is a very hard worker! He is from Thousand Oaks California, and half Chilean. He speaks Spanish well, and for this reason is in the fast tracked two-week group. We get along well! He is on the less athletic minded side, but I can deal with that! We teach very well together. President also called Elder Pomar and I to be zone leaders (over the 7 districts here in the mtc). I thought district leader was a lot of responsibility! I am enjoying the opportunity to serve and have learned a lot about effective leadership!
So...I guess I have been somewhat negligent in answering some of Mom and Dad's questions but here it goes...The food here is very predictable. We usually have some bread and some sort of rice with salsa (a red meat sauce stuff) and meat. It is a lot of carbs haha! My previous district was mainly from Utah, Arizona, and California. My new district has people from Chile, Peru, Guatamala and all over south america! The pictures I send home is the group of all the people who live on the Temple grounds. The other half live in another house nearby. There are about 80 of us in total. I would say 55 Elders to 25 Hermanas.
This week int the Latino District has been so increidible!! I have imporved so much! I felt like I was beginning to plateau, but now that I am immersed in people who only speak spanish, it hasforced me to improve my skills! I am so excited to actually leave and go out to the Mission! Only six more days!! Elder Pomar and I are having a blast together and I have learned so much spanish from him! I feel like the tables have turned, as far as the language goes, compared to my last companionship! However, I really miss how funny and goofy Elder Banks was! I have learned so much from both of these amazing Elders.I am so glad that I decided to work before coming out on the mission! It is so important to know how to work! Many of the younger elders here dont really get the concept of the "law of the harvest." However there are many Elders who do! I cant believe how the time has flown and how much I have learned! Next time I email I will be in the field!!!
Elder Harries

MTC Week 4

view from the roof of the ccm

Francisco Escobar, Grandma's friend

 This is Chica, the one eared friendly dog


This week has gone by so fast it is not even funny! It feels like yesterday I was just emailing home!! (sorry mom) Not too much happened this week, besides an earthquake. We were all sitting in class reading and I felt my leg moving back and forth. I thought that was weird and that maybe I was having a muscle twitch. LOL well....I quickly realized it was not a muscle twitch and that it was a full blown 6.2 Earthquake! It was the coolest thing ever!! I cannot describe the feeling...almost like standing on gelatin. I wasn't really scared but more enthralled I guess. I got up and started surfing...Looking back I guess that was pretty stupid and I should have been more cautious. But hey, it was my first earthquake. Apparently it was the largest since the huge one back in 2010. They get earthquakes here every few months or so, so I wonder what the normal ones will feel like.

As far as the rest of the week goes, nothing really special to report on. We have had some pretty good teachers and they have been really helpful. I am usually the one who is translating for the rest of the students because of the teachers limited English. It has been really helpful to work on my Spanish. Today on Preparation Day I was able to clearly communicate with some Chileans. It was really neat to see the progression I have made here. I really can't wait to be immersed in the language though. I feel like I am at a bit of a standstill. However, I still do have a lot to learn here.

As far as the Chilean people go, everyone in the City smokes all the time. I sometimes wonder if the smog is from the cars or people! I have a lot of work to do! The Chilean people fall into two categories from what I have seen so far, which is very limited. They are either the nicest people and humblest people you have ever met, or they have a really really tough shell. I think it just depends on their views of Americans. 

So, funny story..ish. Elder Banks and I went to this Papeleria to get the covers of our Preach My Gospel handbooks laminated. The man told me it would take no more than an hour....Well 1:45 later, and only our two English ones were I guess I am going to have one of our good friend/teachers pick it up for me. It was kind of funny when I told him I would be back in a week, until I reallized I could have a teacher pick it up for him.

I dont really have too much more. I am feeling really good and I love the people here! The CCM is the most enriching place I have ever been in. I have learned so much about myself here. I never recognized how prideful I was until I got out here. I have a long ways to go! Please keep me in your prayers! I know that Jesus Christ lives. He is the only way! He stands waiting for us! I love you all!!

Elder Harries