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:)


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:)


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 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!

Elder Harries

Monday, November 10, 2014

Villa Sur II Week 9


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!!

Elder Harries

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Villa Sur II Week 8


This week has been a great one! I don´t even know where to 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:)


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