Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Villa Sur II Week 14


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


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 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! 

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


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 I love this season and hope we remember our Savior!!

Love you all,
Elder Harries