"Go Give Them Heaven!"

"Go Give Them Heaven!"

Welcome to my Mission blog. This blog will display any pictures or stories that I will be sending home via mail or email.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The End of a Good Thing

With only a week and a half left on the mission, I realized that I probably should update my blog, haha. I am betting a few people are wondering why I am ending the mission and coming home. Not to worry, so am I.

Back on July 22, I had an interview with Stake President Merrill. Going into the interview, both of us had a lot of questions for each other. For me, for instance, I was wondering things like "When I would be set apart?" and so forth. To make things clearer, I had proposed to President Watkins a Service mission opportunity to serve as a Mission Office missionary in the field helping missionaries. The sole objective being the welfare of the missionary. I would accompany them to their lessons and help out where needs be. President Merrill didn't have a full picture of this when I first entered the room. We discussed it a bit, and I realized that this was a bad idea. He shared with me a scripture in D&C 42 verse 11 where we are told that there is a certain order to things within the church. I would be trying to go around the fact of being a Full-time missionary without actually receiving a call. He gave me two propositions: either stay until I felt that I was done, or just simply go home. Since my parents are coming out to California at the end of this week, it would be easiest to just go home with them when they leave.

So that is that. It has really been fun serving out here. Just as another update, I am more than likely going to be deleting my Blog when I get home. There is no real reason to keep it when I have a journal and pictures to provide for memories.

Lastly, my parents talked with my Stake President at home. I am not fully certain if I am going to speak in Church, but if I do, it would be August 31.

Anyways, I don't want to allow myself to get too "trunky" on this blog, haha. Things have been going very well since I have been back in Gilroy. The missionaries have been so kind in taking me back. They even made a cake and poster for me. It was really nice of them. I have done a lot of things for the car lately in making sure that it passes the Smog test and that it is just generally running well. In the mission field, I work with the Spanish Elder only, now that Elder Seelos and Billin are gone. We have visited with all of the families again. They are doing really well.
  • The couple with the sister in the wheelchair are doing well. I think the husband is now working at a job and providing for the family. Though I am not fully certain. On one visit she really broke down and let us know that she loves her Savior Jesus Christ. We even had her say the closing prayer, with some help. This is huge, because she normally can't say the prayer on her own.
  • The family that was baptized, unfortunately, has gone inactive because of work on Sundays. They do have family in from Mexico that are investigating the church.
  • The couple with the baby are looking to get married sometime soon. She really wants to be baptized (He already has been baptized).
  • The single sister who was baptized is doing well. I really haven't visited with her much since I have been back, she has been very busy.
Anyways, I hope everything is well with everyone. Talk to you later.

-Brother Justin Harris

For the Beauty of the Earth: Part 2

Monday, July 28, 2014

Mission Update: July 28, 2014

BrElder Justin Harris is sorry to report that his last day in the mission will be August 18th, 2014. He has deeply enjoyed serving in California with many fun stories and experiences.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Work in Monterey/Seaside

It has been massively hard to try to update you all on my blog, emails, etc. I have noticed even at night I am either too tired or too busy to write in my journal. I am thinking that I am going to have to write simple stories to relay the work being done. I doubt that I will be able to share all of the experiences I have had, which is sad since this means that they will be lost. I will do my best, looking back at the experiences,to write as many as I can. I think this will be easiest continuing from the last post and where it left off.

So, again, May 16th I was transferred as a full time Elder to Monterey to work with Elder Hardy. He is from near Preston, Idaho and is a really outstanding missionary. I really respect how he connects with the people and has a way of helping missionaries in need. He needed a companion for the last few weeks of the Transfer, so President Watkins had me step in.

The Monterey District with the Zone Leaders
(BrElder Harris, Elder Black, Elder Hardy, Sister Smith, Sister Stevenson
Elder Fischer)

Our work primarily involved visiting less active members of the ward, scouting out to see who still lived at home or who had moved. There was one cool experience where we were heading to dinner and Elder Hardy had me look up a family name in our ward directory. 

Again, I don't remember my time in Monterey too well, but this is a picture from a few days after the last picture. I am still trying to identify what type of porpoise it is... I was thinking it was a female orca, but the fluke is WAY too small. The skull looks right for it....maybe some other form of porpoise. Gah, anyone else want to play mortician with me?

I was with Elder Hardy until May 27th. Then I was moved to Seaside and worked with Elder Esquivel. We worked with alot of the Hispanic population and received alot of  Latino investigators.

Monterey Peninsula

Elders Esquivel, BrElder Harris, Elder Lopez-Carrasco, Elder Black

Unfortunately, Elder Esquivel was transferred out and I could only stay for two more weeks to train a new companion on the area. I was lucky to receive Elder Green-Bey as a companion. I had met him earlier in helping out Elder Yearsley. My work with him was to primarily maintain contact with our less actives and English based investigators. All of our Spanish Investigators were referred to the Spanish Sisters.

The Monterey and Seaside Districts (minus the Marina Sisters)

ALL of Monterey and Seaside Districts at Compagno's

Spanish Family Home Evening Group

Elder Barney, Elder Green-Bey, BrElder Harris, Elder Black

The Last night in the field with Elder Green-Bey at a Less active's home

Until next post, love you all and hope that you are all doing well!

-BrElder Harris

Monday, June 16, 2014

For the Beauty of the Earth: Part 1

Our Friendly Neighborhood Peacock

Flowers near the Mission Office

The last Plum tree from the Plum farm years ago

the first of this year's Apricots

Sea Anemones at Monterey Bay Aquarium  

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Spirit is True....Even in Bars

Another week in the Mission Field, another Blog post to write.

When I look back on last week, Wednesday and Thursday were somewhat of a blur (my Spanish days of the week). Elders Crawford, Alonso, and I first visited our sister in the Senior facility. I don't think that I have mentioned her before. She is amazing! She reminds me of a Spanish version of Grandma Clark. I really struggle to understand her, but I feel like she has a very strong testimony. She likes to have us come and sing her himnos. It is a very calming thing for her, I think.

After her, we visited with a man in his bar (don't worry it was during the day and NO ONE was there... kind of as if it was closed). He is a less active member, but has a testimony of fire, seriously WOW! I don't remember what we were talking with him about, but towards the end our our discussion a lady comes in and he invites her to come and sit with us. She was polite, but I don't think she was interested. After him, we visited with our other families that we normally visit with. Ending with a couple (whom are not married) and struggling deciding on getting married. We told them that they need to get married or they are breaking commandments. They both are very solid in the gospel, so I am hopeful for the best!

Then on Thursday, We visited again at the bar but had the man's cook and her son discuss what the church is. Unfortunately, I couldn't hear their responses, since I was on the other end of the table, but the spirit was really strong. We invited them to read the Book of Mormon and pray to know whether or not it is true. After meeting at the bar, we met at Mimi's Cafe as a District to celebrate Hermana Anderson's and Busdicker's year mark. I really enjoy it when we get together as a District, we are all a really strong close-knitted family. However, lunch went over and we were late to St. Joseph's. While at St. Joseph's, I got a call from Elder Clark that I was to pack my bags and be ready in the morning to head to Monterey. I was really anxious and nervous. So, that is what I did. St. Joseph ended at 4, I dropped the Elders off at their apartment and went home to pack.

Friday morning came, and Grandpa and I met Elder Hardy at the Red Robin on Cochrane. We departed, had lunch in Central Morgan Hill, and left for Monterey. In Monterey, Elder Hardy and I worked and finished a Ward record, which took about 2-3 hours to complete. I can't entirely remember. After that, we headed to Carmel, and had dinner with a small family. They were really nice, and definitely a liberal Mormon type. They weren't judgmental which was really nice. Really laid back and enjoying life. After them, we tried visiting with people, but didn't eventually get to talk with anyone.

Saturday: We woke up at 5:30 am to go hiking/running. That fell through, no complaints. The afternoon consisted of cleaning the church, grabbing lunch, talking with Elder Black (one of the Monterey Zone Leaders) while gardening at a Community Garden. After that, we headed to the church and made a dinner for two investigators, one who was really sick and the other who was taking care of him. We delivered it and returned to the church for a Movie for Investigators/Less Actives. We watched the Testament. After that we headed home and called it a night.

Sunday: Ward Council was an interesting experience. I have never been in one and it turned out in being nothing more than I expected: a meeting of nothing more than addressing needs of each area in the Church. The corresponding ward (to the Ward Council) was the Monterey 1st ward. Sacrament meeting was good. I loved the amount of Military members and their children. THERE WERE TONS OF CHILDREN. It was so nice to hear crying and rustling of papers. I never would imagine myself saying that but it is true. Gospel Principles was great. The teacher spoke on the Holy Ghost and His help for us. WE only were able to attend for about 20 minutes. We had a lot of things that were needing to be done. After that, we headed to the Sacrament meeting for the YSA ward where I ran into this kid.....

MICHAEL WINWARD!!!! What the heck is he doing out here in Monterey!?! As it turns out, he is working with the Military and is doing really well. I am so happy for him! We had our Lunch appointment with an amazing family, and had various appointments throughout the day. We had scripture study at a Counselors house in the YSA ward. It was really cool because it was primarily for helping Military members learn to read their languages. The house itself was gorgeous and the view was priceless! 

After that, we ended the night.

And that catches us up to Prep. Day Monday. So far all we have done today is laundry. I hope that you are all well, take care.

-BrElder Justin Harris

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Shakes, Locks, and Transfer Calls

Wow, I really don't know what to say to describe these last few weeks. It is almost a month later and I am finally writing again. Times slips by so fast and I really haven't been observant to updating.

For me, it feels like it has been nothing but work, work, work (which is good). I am always out with the Elders enjoying Gilroy and talking with people.

The first and foremost thing that I am excited to say is that the parents (the father being in the one in hospital) both...not necessarily "re-committed" to baptism, but moved their date for baptism. They got their baptismal interviews done and were baptized on the 26th of April. It was a really emotionally uplifting day since it marked a day in which another family started a path together for being together forever. In a year, they can go to the temple to be sealed! It is really exciting.

In addition to this exciting day, Hermana Zidek and Elder Prince were both able to attend. So, it made the day even more special to talk with them and see how they were doing. All in all a really great night!

May 1st, I received a phone call from Elders Clark and Olsen (the Travelling AP's, they are awesome!) much to my surprise since I rarely talk with them. I missed the call, but called them back to find out that they had a Transfer Call for me. Ok, for those of you who are playing at home now is your chance to chime in with your questions. HUH????? WHAAAAA???? (**said like the Despicable Me minion**) Honestly, I was taken aback because I am not supposed to be receiving Transfer Calls. I am not even a missionary with the Mission. At first I said that I really couldn't, because this whole thing has been set up with me coming home after a few hours. After the first day here, I really have weighed what I can and can't do. It really was a "I don't want to risk anything" type of answer. However, after much prayer and talking with my mom, I realized that it was the wrong answer and was also a really selfish answer. The Lord can't change me if I am stubborn and hard hearted, no?

As I later found out (after saying yes that I would accept the transfer call) President Watkins really needed me to accept it. He has a missionary (somewhere) who is currently serving without a companion and is with a mini-missionary. That mini-missionary doesn't have much time left and he needed someone to take the Elder to the next transfer. So that would be me. I am really nervous about it especially since I haven't heard back from the AP's. I don't know the details, like would I need my car? Anyways, it is better not to think about it.

Last Monday was Cinco De Mayo, and it was really fun. Las Hermanas planned Prep. Day and had us all playing broom hockey. It was awesome, until the brooms broke and everyone was getting cut, BUT STILL really awesome. We played soccer for the remainder of our time, then everyone departed. After that, unfortunately, the Del Rey Elders locked their only set of keys into the trunk of their car. The Gavilian Brannch (Spanish) Elders really needed to get to their apartment. So I drove them to the house to get a wire coat hanger (from the sisters) then they changed. On the way back we grabbed 7 shakes and fries from McDonald's for the 7 of us (2 Del Rey, 2 Gavilian Branch, 2 Zone Leaders, and me). (Hahaha, it was priceless seeing the guy at the windows reaction!) However, It was massively uncomforting paying that much for Fast Food, but everyone was hungry so it worked out. When we got back, the Zone Leaders were gone so we had two extra fries and shakes. Anyways, long story shorter...I got the Spanish Elders off to their dinner appointment and at the same time the other Elders had a car-locksmith come and open their car.

Saturday was a great day. Do you remember the English family I told you about with the mother and the four children. The mother was baptized! Another great baptism! In greater news, the custody that the dad has over the kids may not be as big (I am not too certain) and they may be being baptized later this week!

All last week I was really focused on getting my paperwork started and going. They are all filled out and into the Bishop. I met with him on Sunday (Mother's Day) and we concluded that I need more time to prove that I can do this. I am struggling with some elements of the daily mission life (ex. waking up at 6, daily scripture study, etc.) and so he is going to give me another 3 weeks to prove that I am committed to this. Fortunately, for me, I am hoping to be on this Transfer while I am gone. If I can succeed there I will, hopefully, succeed with getting the last harder things down.

That is the latest with me. We had Prep. Day yesterday and Zone Conference today. It was really good! President and Sister Watkins were both in attendance. I like how they started out with a Question and Answer session. The focus was primarily on the Future with families and school. I gained a ton and will need to review my notes again.

I hope you are all doing well,

-BrElder Justin Harris