Monday, August 24, 2015

A New Favorite Scripture, Acts 6:8

Forgive me please... This week I have taken no pictures... I have sinned. I will try harder to take pictures this coming week!  This week was really simple though, so the email might not be as long. 

Also, I think I have found a new favorite scripture. Acts 6:8, "And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people." Truly a divine scripture that I think even applies to my life today.

I have been making a greater effort to learn the local languages this week compared to other weeks. I have learned some basic phrases in Ewe and fewer in Twi, and the people here are always so excited when they see the Ubruni (white man) trying to speak the language. It's pretty intimidating though. It turns out, not only the verbs need to be conjugated, but ALSO THE NOUNS. Everything has conjugation in Ewe, and I think I am doomed always to only speak a few key phrases. Sigh... I can doo iit! 

This coming week we are preparing for four baptisms, and are really excited! EY, AA, BH and RG are all on their way this week!  A truly prepared and powerful bunch!

As for the week:

We had zone training, and we talked about having the ability to identify the spirit and being able to help our investigators and others to feel the spirit as well. We also taught SA, who is this fantastically energetic investigator with excessively large amounts of excitement and energy. We are hoping that she is one of these truly prepared people! Praying for some good happenings here! Then we saw EY, and pretty much removed any doubts we had about him. 

Oatmeal for breakfast, and I don't think I'll continue to buy cinnamon. It's not exactly very potent here. Spent the rest of my subsistence on food, of course, and even got some milk powder. I'll see how it tastes and works. Is it truly worth it? Hmmm! Well, today, we also taught 7 lessons, most of which were very basic. We even found another person who we think will have great potential in the future! Look for SA in further emails.

Aaand the rest of the week passed really quickly and I think I am out of time to email, so I will finish with the spiritual thought! Another reason to forgive me!!

For a spiritual thought this week I think something that has really struck me is the power that comes from a pure and basic testimony. As long as a testimony on something is acquired, knowledge and guidance for it will follow. I have watched the recent converts grow in their ability to bear testimony in the simply truths of the gospel, and I have been able to watch it bless and change their lives in so many ways.

Goodbye! I luffs you all! God loves you more!
Mawu ne yirow! (God bless you!)

Elder Harris

Friday, August 21, 2015

From the B's -- August 21.

We brought Elder Harris and Elder Ojaide an American lunch.  Elder Harris is doing great and of course had a big smile on his face as always:). He said he is healthy and doing good.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Scoopin' Out Gutters

Hello everyone! It's fantastic to be able to email you yet again! 

This week was pretty fantastic, we were able to teach a lot, and found a couple of hopefully golden investigators who I think might be able to make it all the way. We also had the All Africa Service Project here in Juapong and cleaned out the gutters on the side of the main road in the town. It was quite a sight to see a couple hundred Africans all working hard with their "Helping Hands" vests. It was a fantastic time.

Also, I've had a spontaneous rekindling of my musical desires. President Heid makes sure we keep a piano in every apartment, and I have this randomly strong desire to pick up the piano again. Hopefully by the power of some miracle I can come home with some moderate ability to play the piano, haha. It's frustrating, and yet intriguing at the same time. 

We also made red oil rice for the first time this week. I think I'm getting a demented view of African cooking though. Elder Ojaide seasons everything exactly the same, with differing core ingredients. It turns out well every time, and somehow different, and I've learned from him, but I'm not sure if it always works like this, haha. 

So now for the week:

We had district council, and I gave the spiritual thought on Alma 5. It's all about our abilities to have a mighty change of heart. Having that mighty change of heart is what delivered the people of Alma from the bands of death. In the words of a guy in my college ward, "There is no repentance without change, and there is no true change without repentance." Then we had a couple lessons, and it turns out one of my investigators, E, had a dream where people in white were asking her about the Book of Mormon, over and over. It is so important, and we talked about how we would be "judged out of the books of life" as it says in the scriptures. Then we taught SA, the most ergetic lady I've ever met in my life it seems. She's great, and totally keeps commitments and seems to really understand and be willing to make changes. Then we saw Emmanuel Attiah, who read almost the whole book of First Nephi in just a few days. We gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon Stories later in the week to help him understand what he read.

We started off and went to see P, and his sister C walked in and talked about a dream she'd had with all of these people dressed in white holding the Book of Mormon and telling her to read from it. She'd had this dream right after she had prayed to know if the Book of Mormon was true, and she thinks it is now, and that Joseph Smith was a prophet. Unfortunately we still did not see her at church. Then we taught a couple more people, and saw this guy from Benin who is pretty educated and even had really intellectual conversations with us. He cannot get past the apostasy though, and we are really hoping and praying for him.

This was pretty much a day to talk about the All Africa Service Project and help set it up. We also went to cafe for an assignment on the internet as well. Then we went out and taught B, and it seems he is steadily progressing to baptism this month! I made bread and egg as well! Actually not bad, and felt pretty dang filling!

We went out and taught E and her Sister M, and even they both say the Book of Mormon is true! And we are hoping to continue with them and to help them to get the spiritual witness as well. Then we saw an investigator progressing to baptism, and went contacting a while to warn people about the large event happening in the next couple of days. Then we saw someone we haven't seen in a while and are hoping to help her continue progressing again, and she might actually have the potential to now as well!

The big fire day! Totally crazy! All of the members came from all over for the Service Project! We spent the morning cleaning the gutters in the city, and even a few of the missionaries came as well! It was pretty great! Got a lot of referrals and a few contacts and did some good work! Than we went out and were able to teach a couple of lessons, and even EA! Who came to church the next day! Totally killer! I love this guy!

Church was great! I came with a talk prepared and learned, I had prepared for the wrong topic, so was writing during sacrament, and got to speak for like 13 minutes, haha. Then we went out to teach a few people after church and so forth.

Today, so far all that has happened is basketball as a zone! Pretty fun! Also some frisbee and a meatcake! Rockin' it!

For today, I'm running out of time, so I'll give a quick spiritual thought. The Book of Mormon is so powerful. This week, as I've watched investigators keep commitments and read in the Book of Mormon consistently, I've watched as the stories and principles have changed their lives and helped them progress. It's fantastic, and can happen for all of us!

Love you guys! 
The church is true, the book is blue!

Elder Harris

Accidentally left the keys in the door all day!

A basketball picture from the zone activity.

A package from home!

Monday, August 10, 2015

A Mighty Change of Heart

It was a pretty good week. Seems like everything is goin' pretty well! We are getting closer to our goal for baptisms this month and making progression with people we thought progress would stop, as well watched a couple we had hopes for freeze permanently it seems. But all in all, it has been a good week! We had pizza today, and had a blast of a time! Aside from that I'm running out of time, it seems I have not managed emails well this week. 


Had pancakes for breakfast, actually made chocolate pancakes! I am a genius! And a smoothie with frozen pineapple, mangos and bananas. Man, I'm a genius, have I said that yet? Anyways, we had district meeting and Elder Ojaide and I taught a discussion on teaching in unity. Then we went out to teach a few people, including C, who was accepting everything like crazy, and then explained to his buddy how God and Christ were one, but separate better than most members could, haha.

Ate pancakes for breakfast again, had a branch presidency meeting, and had a good day. We mostly taught recent converts on monday, and then committed B to a baptismal date on the 23rd, and we think he'll actually keep this one!!

Had oatmeal for breakfast, and even put cinnamon in it. Good day. We went to another city to see S, and hoped to commit her to a baptismal date, and ended up abandoning hope with her completely, as it seems this small branch isn't as much fun as her other ward. Sad day. Then we saw L, who still refuses to believe in any revelation of any sort, so I think we will no longer see her, and can only pray. Then we taught Doctrinal Class, and then P came in and we had a lesson with her, and are hoping to help her along to her baptism on the 23rd.

Made even BETTER chocolate pancakes. I really am a genius. Well, we met with C agian, and it looks like he won't be in town for a few months, so we're hoping to pick it up when he gets back. Then we saw a few other people and are hoping to add some names to our long term investigator list!

Had another branch meeting, and then saw P and tried to help advance her again, and are really hoping to help her move along. Then we saw another recent convert. Not much to report for the day.

President Heid visited the our Branch! He came and talked for a bit, and it seems that we are also going to prepare more for the All Africa service project in our area. Then we went out and taught a couple member present lessons to people we really hope have potential. We committed R to a baptism on the 23rd! I believe in this guy!

Today, the big thing was we went out for pizza! Totally killer. Not dominoes, but still worth it.

For a spiritual thought this time I've been thinking a lot about change. In Alma 5, he talks about keeping in remembrance of their fathers who were in the bands of death and the chains of hell, and he asks how they were loosed and freed. The answer, mentioned 3 times in the next 3 verses and a fourth time later in the chapter is a mighty change of heart. In the same way, in our work, we need to have a mighty change of heart, directed to God. We love and serve Him with all of our hearts, might, minds and strength and in return He will change us to become more like His son. As we change these bands will loose their grip, having fewer sins and infirmities and bumps to grasp along the way. While we can't make it all the way, every time we repent the barbs and bumps on these changes, they lose their grip, and even the devil is bound in the same way he will be in the millenium, by the righteousness of the saints.

Love yall! You're the best!

Elder Harris

Monday, August 3, 2015

An Email From the B's!

We are grateful for the B's, a missionary couple, who check on Elder Harris.  They bring him wonderful things to eat and always send pictures home to Elder Harris's family.  We love this missionary couple!

From the B's:
We passed through today and dropped off an American lunch to Elder Harris and Elder Ojiade:). Thought you'd enjoy some pictures of them walking down their road and the 2 of them together. I also took some pictures from a couple weeks ago when we were passing through their town and who did we see right in front of us on their bikes? Our cute elders! We didn't have any sandwiches, but we had just come from the American store in Accra, so we broke open the container of Oreos and had them help themselves!

When we asked Elder Harris today how he's doing and how his area is, he says "so awesome!". What a great missionary he is:)

Chewing Problems

Inline image 1Woah! What a week! It's fantastic to write to you all again! I hit a record for how many emails I got this week, which means that you all truly love me! haha, sorry for anyone I have not gotten to yet, still trying to make sure I can get to everybody. 

The week was totally bomb. We have been teaching and reinforcing our recent converts and doing our best to find new investigators as well. With the effort that we are putting in I am sure God will bless us for our efforts, and He already does in so many ways.

I'm not sure if I included this last week, but I learned to make Ground Nut Soup! Totally kiiller! I eat it with fufu (which is fantastic) and you just stick it in your mouth and swallow. No chewing, mind you, just straight up swallow it. I have gotten really bad at remembering to chew my other food, so I think I'm going to have to eat a little less fufu and other things. Or I can just swallow all my food because FUFU is so GOOD!! It makes me a happy guy. I apologize for how much I talk about food. As the females back at college know, I was easily bought to do anything as long as food is involved. The mission has fufu, so I am here, haha. Just kidding, the Gospel is GREAT! That's why I'm here! And fufu.... oh decisions decisions... Anyways! We'll move on!

Here it goes for the week:

We had district council, and I had the opportunity to teach the instruction about obedience, and quickly I will testify to you that for every single commandment God has given us, there is a blessing that is attached, and that we most importantly keep these commandments because we love God. Anything else we do in the church is just an attachment to the fact that we act for our love of God. Even painfully so, when we go against the word of God, it is exclusively because we trust information or views from somewhere else more than we trust Him. When phrased this way, it might make it easier to make choices that have relation to God! :)

After district council, we went back and waited while the apartment was fixed up in a couple ways, and finally got to go teach a couple lessons about 1 true church, and the apostasy.

I tried white coco porridge for breakfast. Totally not as good as normal porridge, but I guess every mistake has to be made at least once(with food, not the gospel). I also started waking up cold, so I've started using blankets. But I am confused, because I am in Africa, and I'm the only one (even among Africans) who can get cold ever. I don't understand how this keeps happening to me.

For the day, we had a few failed appointments in the morning, but hopefully a solid contact or two.  We saw JJ, and came home to have some Spaghetti with stew (sauce). Then we went to see P, and found out he had a couple of things not going so great and are hoping to help find him a solution in the near future. Then we saw EA.
Had oatmeal for breakfast, and experimented by cooking it in non-dairy creamer, and I think I might continue to do so (because there is no milk). Good ideas happen plenty here. Then for the day we talked to T and found out we had to cancel plans for teaching her brother since he's a polygamist, which was kind of sad, but also we hope that he can come to a knowledge of truth in his life. Then we went to another town to see S, who was busy but committed to come to church (which, unfortunately, did not happen). Then we hopped on a tro tro back, and see Mo (after lunch with fufu and kitenkuan) and taught a doctrinal class on the war in heaven after that.

Oatmeal again. Good food still. I finally bought more Jago (condensed milk) for syrup, so I could make pancakes again. Good day. Our first few appointments failed, and then we had a spontaneous lesson with someone we handed a pamphlet who read the whole thing! Hopefully this E will turn out to be a solid investigator! Then we visited a few people, and taught this family by the church, and the grandma and auntie both believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God today! Good day! 

Ate pancakes for the first time in forever, just really great! This was a super busy day as well. We went out with brother M as well, and taught a few lessons with him. The first one was a dead end, who would not understand even when basic scriptures were given. He would agree with the scripture and then say something else. Then we saw P's son, who seems really interested! Sent his referral to Accra, and we're hoping that he catches the spark and P's whole family can catch fire and totally hit it off with the church! Then we saw L and had a basic lesson on the Plan of Salvation. Pretty great day!

We had fast sunday! Joyous accord. We picked up EA for church, and he seemed to have a good time. After church we gave the Sanders the pillows we picked up for the new missionaries, and they gave me a thing of cinnamon! Cinnamon is hard to get out in the bush, and I love them with my whole heart, haha. Then we went out and taught Pl's father, who says he wants to fellowship with the church for the rest of his life, which sounds fairly promising! And then we taught RK about 1 true church, and we're hoping we can revive her true interest. It seems to be on the correct way there.

So for the spiritual thought for the week, I think it has really hit me this week the importance of service. "When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God." Mosiah 2:17. As I have been seeking to apply this principle of service in my life and in my work, I have found both my love for this people and my ability to serve them to be enhanced. There is more peace with my companion, and I truly feel uplifed by the spirit. In fact, in retrospect, I might even say that it is dangerous to live without a heart dedicated to service, as it can an will erase any trace of heartache or remove any pain.

In the pictures, Elder Ojaide and I got haircuts, and I made some Ground Nut Soup!

Love ya!

Elder Harris

Sunday, August 2, 2015

New Football

My titles are horrible. I'm sorry. I will try to think of them more during the week. I played soccer today, so it was the only thing on my mind. But this week was pretty killer! We got a new batch of missionaries from the Provo and Johannesburg(?) MTCs. We also sent home like a billion. I think like 22. Not exactly a billion, but it seems all my American buddies on mission are heading out and gone. But that leaves more room for the new generation of Ghanaian missionaries to preach the Gospel, haha. Now...

To the Week!

We came back and taught Brother P a little more, mostly spent time getting his baptismal information from him, Stories left and right with this guy, he's so fantastic. I also bought a Sprite! Truly living the life of luxury here.

We talked to P again  (warning, we taught him a lot this week) and confronted a lot of concerns that it seems random people have just came and attacked him with. He's so fantastic though! He just told them to worry about themselves and let him follow Jesus Christ! Man! Totally killer! Then we were teaching A about the Law of Chastity, when this random Muslim guy named A came in and started asking questions! He is actually like a super educated guy in the sense that he actually knows what he believes! He was sharing all of these things that they believed and it just struck me how many truths he did have. In the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we simply invite others to take to the truths they know and to add more, and it was such a powerful lesson! Powerful spirit from everyone. We gave him a Book of Mormon, and hope to see him again. 

We saw P (surprise!) and finally finished getting all of his information for his baptism. We also actually went contacting for a little bit and found a couple of people that we plan on coming back to see, but I'm not sure how much fruit it'll bear. We also taught R that having weakess is not a sin. 

We taught PC, who called last Sunday and asked to be baptized. She had a lot of underlying concerns and misunderstandings, and it seems it might take a little while to help her clear up her thoughts. Then we taught N and J,  and I feel like we have set up a super solid ground to get them finally off their feet and to the church. Then we ran through baptismal interview questions with our candidates this week to help prepare them. 

We had zone training and met our 2 new missionaries! Elder Smith and Elder Skelton, both fresh from the MTC and straight to Ghana. Afterwards we had food at the Senchi apartment, and when we went back I was with Elder Tyokolwana while he interveiwed our candidates while Elder Ojaide and Elder Smith went on an exchange to teach.

We baptized P! So great! He's such a stud! Had to baptize him a couple of times because he didn't plug his nose the first time, which kind of made me panick, but it was still a good service.

Then we went to market and contacted a few people, went to see a less active member for a few minutes, and then we went to grab Sister D for a member present lesson, and we were waiting for like an hour and a half when it turns out she made us banku and ebenkwa (palm nut soup) which was super good! Then we went to teach an investigator and this random guy just joins in and tries to convince us that everything is about the spirit (without understanding the spirit) and then tries to convince us that pretty much everything we need is in the books of Acts, 1st and 2nd Corinthians. Took forever. 

We confirmed P in church, and I was spontaneously asked to give a talk on the plan of salvation for 20 minutes, which turned out pretty OK. Then I spontaneously was asked to teach Sunday School, and I'm hoping it turned out the same way. After church we had branch council, which took a while, then we were able to see P, and then we planned for the month and the week.
We went to get gas, and then had some soccer with the zone! I am a horrible goalee! They scored on me twice. I'm a better forward, ugh. Haha.

As for the week's spiritual thought, it seems that I have been reading a lot about the forgiveness of God and His greatness in Mosiah. Specifically Mosiah 26, if you'll do the reading. In Mosiah's (modified) words, we are so indebted to Christ, that there is no way we could ever pay Him back. But we are still given the beautiful gift of forgiveness every time we repent and point our desires back to God.

I love you all! I hope you're having a great time!

Elder Harris