Elder Harris, Portia and Gordella

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hello Family,

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving this last week. It sounded sweet except for the whole dog attacking the small child thing. I'm sure Jake could take it though. All you have to do when any wild animal comes at you is hit it in the nose. Nothing likes to get hit in the nose.

So my last week was pretty awesome. We all went to get pizza at Chopsticks in town. More then twenty missionaries went and we enjoyed. I bought a big thing of Fanta and as I went to chug it down, the gas expanded and exploded out of my mouth. Elder Butler was like what the hell are you doing?(as he was laughing) I just looked like nothing happened and said yeah that is how it is. Deal with it. We spent the rest of the day with Elder Holmes, Lehr, Jaggi and Lehr's companion. We've been pretty much moving with Elder Holmes and Jaggi all weekend. I think things will go back to normal tomorrow;)

On Friday, I went on splits with Elder Adu-Gyamfi so that Elder Asiedu could interview Tony. We did some small contacting and then went with Elder Holmes to this recording studio and free styled with a bunch of rappers. To them our names aren't Elder Holmes, Jaggi, and Harris. Elder Holmes has a Twi name that means Warrior, Jaggi is Dr. J, and I'm White Tiger of course. It was a lot of fun. The place is kind of ghetto but Jaggi is now featured on a track that is supposedly on the radio here in Ghana. He did a pretty good job. I'm hoping to write a rap soon with Elder Holmes.

Tony's baptism went well despite the fact that the branch didn't plan for it at all. We brought the baptism date at PEC like two weeks before, but they obviously didn't think about it. At Sacrament meeting, President Sarpong announced that the baptism would be at the other chapel after service was over. He said that all leaders should attend. The very next announcement said they were having a leadership meeting right after service and that all leaders should attend. Hmm...that doesn't work does it? We just combined with Elder Holmes' baptism. Nobody from Abuakwa came, but it was still good. Tony was baptized by his friend Felex who is now a priest. It took him three tries to get it right. He kept leaving his elbow too high. It was pretty sweet.

Elder Rogers got his Christmas package already. It was pretty sweet and we now have a Christmas tree in our room. I have now tried the pretzel m&m's. They were pretty amazing.

So Tony will be confirmed this coming Sunday. He is still the only progressing investigator we have. Those who were progressing didn't come to church, so we were a little ticked off. I think Jennifer is sick though but we can't call them because we don't have any credit till tomorrow. I hope we can get them to come next week. We do have some promising referrals we started teaching this week. One lives really close to the church and came to church. We should see him tomorrow evening at Institute.

Well, I have to go. I'm glad your Thanksgiving was sweet. I know it wasn't as memorable as mine was though. I'll be 14 months on mission this Thursday! Christmas will be here very soon too. Elder Adjeifio goes home this transfer, then the Kiffers one transfer after that. Then Akoki (who is now AP if I didn't mention that before) goes in May. Then the Sabey's go home in July, then Lehr in August, Then It's my turn. It's very close some days and very far at other times. My son will be one year on mission before I leave:(
Well I love you and miss you! I'll be expecting your pictures.)

Love, Elder Harris

Monday, November 22, 2010

Hey family,

What's up? What's happening? I guess your right about Thanksgiving. I blame Elder Holmes who brought it up. I guess we've been away too long from the states.

This has been quite a day as usual. Pretty boring but I'm wasted now. Yesterday, Elder Thompson was emergency transferred down south so we have been left with only one zone leader. Knowing there was an extra bed, Elder Rogers and I went to stay the night with Elder Lehr, Kamara, and Lehr's companion. We all felt sick all night for some reason and kept going to the bathroom so none of us had any sleep. The rest of the day went as normal. We went to town, walked around, couldn't get a car back, went to the zone leader's apartment, waited, then fought for a car at the Sofaline roundabout. We are finally back in Abuakwa but I'm ready to pass out.

Anyways, this week as been pretty cool. We have been trying to work a little bit harder since our zone conference last week. I think we do pretty good but there is always room for improvement. Tony is preparing for baptism this next coming Sunday. He is pretty solid and ready to take the plunge. We are now teaching him about the plan of salvation. We have been dropping a lot of people but at the same time some cool people are being added to our teaching pool every day. One problem we have is the fact that we don't know many of the members. There is no substitute for a member oriented missionary program. We also have Jennifer and her sister, Rebbecca with whom we just finished the first lesson. Hopefully we can help them come to know it is true.

Yesterday we had a special video broadcast from Salt Lake. Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Sister Ann M. Dibb (who happens to be the prophets daughter if you didn't know, yeah she says that every talk), and President Boyd K. Packer all spoke to the entire continent of Africa. Their talks were powerful. Dallin H. Oaks started by saying how good some African traditions were then said but, and went through a long list of things that aren't appropriate as members of the church. He gave it to them for funerals, bride prices, male dominate marriages, waiting to get married till after you are finished with school and financially secure (huge problem here), and a host of other things that this continent deals with. Sister Ann Dibb gave a good talk, haha. As for President Packer, he actually stood through his long talk which everybody had a hard time understanding. He really is not looking good at all. Elder Jaggi said this could be the last time we ever hear from him again. It might be true. It was a sweet day for us.

As for the new groups opening up throughout Kumasi, I assume they will be under the direction of the Kumasi Stake presidency. The missionaries will have to do most of the conducting, speaking, and teaching. In Sunyani, Elder Vancherie and his companion Elder Tadeo take turns with the responsibilities each week. The kumasi groups will have more members though so it may not be so missionary oriented.

Well I don't have very much time. It sounds like your going to have a great holiday season. Nothing here really changes but it just feels like the holidays in your mind. One year ago I thought today would never come but it has. OK I love you all but I gotta go! Bye bye! :)

Elder Harris

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Well today has been pretty chill. We just went to P-day and left early for town. I'm still there so pray I get a car back to Abuakwa.

This week again has been pretty normal. We're dropping more people and picking others up. Tony came to church and we started teaching him the Plan of Salvation. His baptism was scheduled for Sunday the 14th but I decided to push it back to the 28th so that we don't end up having baptisms every Sunday. It's just easier for the branch to go all the way to the other Chapel where they have a font. Anyways he's rock solid so I have no fear. Afriyie, Tony's younger brother now has the Aaronic Priesthood and will start proselyting with us soon. He brought two referals last week but he got sick so we couldn't find their places. The work is moving on. Not a lot of people are progressing but we are working hard.

Yesterday we had a zone conference which was a surprise because we thought it got canceled. Big things are going to happen in this mission and I'm excited to be here for it. Especially in Kumasi. The Kumasi Stake is huge. It has to be like 50 Km accross with only 8 places to worship. Coming to church is a huge problem for a lot of people. In Sunyani they are doing something new that President Sabey came up with. He reasoned with the area authorities saying instead of just going up there and trying one small group and wait till it grows, why don't we just start four separate groups. The groups will each have a pair of missionaries and will meet in their apartment. The apartments in Sunyani are big enough to hold such meetings. Soooooo if it is working there, why can't we do it here in Kumasi. Right now we have two pairs of missionaries in each ward or branch. Soon, with the addition of these types of apartments, instead of 8 places of worship, Kumasi will have 22 places of worship. Only one companionship per group, branch or ward. What will this do for Kumasi? It will blow up! Apartments are already getting ready to open and this next transfer their will be groups opening in Atonsu, Dabine (both of which were in my old area of Asokwa) and a number of different places. The goal is to finish and open the groups during the next 6 months. We could easily have a hundred missionaries in Kumasi very soon. I'm excited because one of President Sabey's goals was to split this mission. He doesn't mess around with goals.

The bat didn't taste bad at all. It was just weird. It was my idea to turn around and buy one but Elder Pinnell went all out. "Give me that," and he bit the head off and started to chew. He chewed it for like 5 mins until he just spit it out because it was a pain to chew. It was very tough and the tongue sticking out at me was a little awkward. Not to mention the eyes.

I had the chance to watch more of conference this week. I loved the opening by President. He made it pretty dang clear how important missionary work is for a priesthood holder. It is a priesthood DUTY. He pretty much smacked anybody who just wants to get the priesthood but doesn't want to except the responsibilities. What's it going to do for you if you don't use it? Its just a little thought that I had. The blessings are way better then the challenges that's for sure. I hate it when missionaries preach in their letters home so I'll stop now. I loved Elder Hollands talk of course. I shed a tear when he talked to his mom and his dad who died 34 years ago. I had similar feelings when President Monson spoke about this parents during the Sunday morning session. Each Priesthood session I watch gets better then the last. Maybe I'm just a little bit more on the page I need to be to feel the spirit. I hope that it gets better and better as I get better throughout my life. President Uchtdorf's talk on Pride was my favorite because it helped me to really know what I need to fight against in that regard. It's something I feel I need work on (that and temperence).

Well I think I'm going. I'm happy you all sent me some packages. I just want to get up and do a special dance for you all but that will have to wait. I writing a song called The Fox and Hound by the way. Its all about me the hound going after the Fox. I'm so clever!
Tell Grandma that the bat was tasty and that I'm going teach my first son (Sir Vladimir Kofi Akwasi Harris) to like it too:) I love you!

Love Elder Harris

P.S. I hope you sent me pictures;)
- Show quoted text -

Monday, November 8, 2010

I Ate A Bat Today

Dear Mom,

So I might be brief tonight, but we will see. It all depends on the Zone Leaders. We are still stuck in Adom which is in the center of town. We went to get a car for Abuakwa and it was absolute chaos. It was insane! When we first got there I pushed us onto a car going passed our place, but then I learned they were charging 1 cedi, so I said forget it. Big mistake! As we continued to wait more and more people kept coming and no cars to pick them up, so I basically screwed up. The Zone Leaders are still here so we are probably going to go with them and either stay there or take a 5 cedi drop in a taxi. It bad too because Elder Rogers got pushed into a big gutter with a splash. Yummy:(

I'm pretty tired. I played myself out at Bantama today. Elder Pinnell has been transferred to Boulkrum which is just about as far away from Abuakwa you can get in Kumasi. I will still get to see him every Monday though. Our new roomie is named Elder Marsan from Liberia. He is really cool, but kind of quiet. Now that Elder V is gone the apartment is pretty quiet. Oh well, at least I'm sleeping more. After P-day we all walked to Adom and looked around. I didn't even have to come here, but now we're stuck. I think for the next two months it's going to be crazy in town.

I ate a bat today. It was very tough and it was looking at me. Elder Pinnell ate the head like Ozzy Osbourne. He does have dark hair.

Yesterday we watched the Saturday Afternoon and Sunday morning sessions of conference. It was pretty sweet, but four hours is pretty long for most people. At the begining of the second session one guy got up and fast forwarded through the choir, the prayer, and THEN half way through President Eyring's talk. I wanted to get up and smack him but instead, I just walked out and took a breather. My favorites were Dallin H. Oaks, Elder Gong, That dude from the presiding bishopric (who nobody here could understand) and President Monson's talk. The coolest part was that we had 5 investigators who came and sat through the entire thing. One couldn't even understand the English but still, she sat there for the entire 4 hours. I didn't even think she would come. It was a good day for us.

Forget about 2 years. It's 11 months now. At the end of this week we will be half way through November and Christmas will be just around the corner. Yeah its a long time right now, but as soon as it passes your mind will squeeze it all into one memory which didn't seem to take long at all. It's a weird mental thing. I'll be sad to leave this place but let's face it, this work is kicking my butt a little bit. The book of Mormon is the best cure when I'm down. My testimony is the only thing keeping me grounded when the rains start to beat the crap out of me. I am enjoying myself though, lol.

As for the package you can send me anything you like. I like M&Ms. I hear they came out with some pretzel hybrid so maybe if that is still around. I also like Oreo's and Dots. :)

Minerals are Soda. They basically have Coke, Sprite, and Orange Fanta. They also have Malta and Alvaro which is a non-alcoholic malt based beverage with a twist of pear or pineapple.

Well, that's all for now. I'm going to the Zone Leader's Apartment. I love you all!

Elder Harris

Monday, November 1, 2010


Hello momma,

It sounds like your week kind of stunk. Sorry:( To brighten your spirit, someone told me a while back that I'm a guy who loves his momma and I would like to confirm that statement. I love you mom! I couldn't ask for a better.

Last night was Halloween. They don't celebrate Halloween here in Ghana so we had to make the best of it by buying a bunch of candy and minerals. We spent the night playing scum and talking doctrine with our beloved zone leaders. We had this great idea where we would dress up with werewolf masks and run around town. People would FREAK OUT. We would be sure to stay far from the church though, lol. Too bad the idea came too late:( I haven't had so much sugar in a very long time though and I went to bed feeling sick.

Last week we had a pretty average week. We put in some good numbers but nobody is really progressing except for Tony. We are hoping he will be baptized on the 14th. It all depends on what is going on with the Branch. Tony is progressing well. He already has a brother in the church and friends who live in the same house. He comes to church every week and he keeps his commitments. Go contacting!

Yesterday I dropped an investigator named Fosua. It was the first time that I actually had the opportunity to tell someone we can't come and visit them anymore. It was so awkward! It needed to be done though since she has been taught everything by the former elders and she still won't come to church. She thinks the teachings are good (i hear that a thousand times a day) but she isn't willing to act on them so if we teach her more we only will bring more condemnation. It was hard but liberating at the same time.

On Thursday we took a trip over to Stadium so that Elder Vanchiere could check it out. While I was there, I decided to head over and visit Sister Esther. When I knocked on the door, Sister Deborah (Elder Akoki's recent convert) and with big eyes said, "wow!" Hiding behind the door was Esther who freaked out and squeezed me in a big bear hug (she is no small woman). She was way excited to see us. It helped me to see that there is purpose to my being here in Ghana and the joy we helped bring these people is worth the pain. Esther is doing fine and is still active which makes me happier then I deserve since I had lost hope in her.

Today we received transfer news and Elder Vanchiere is leaving us which freaking sucks. The apartment will still be fun but it will back to normal mission fun (reading...). Elder Rogers is still with me which is sweet and I'm told Elder Pinnell is coming up to Kumasi. My father Elder Akoki is now an AP which blows my mind. It will be sweet because we'll be able to proselyte with him when he comes on splits. I love Akoki and it will be sweet to see that cioa french man again. Everything else is still the same for now.

Tomorrow I will have 11 months to go. This has been the fastest month yet on mission. Oh how I hope and pray I stay in this are for a long long long time. My companion is awesome. My Mt's are here. It's my hope that I will stay at least four more transfers and then finish my mission as a junior companion. That would be the best scenario:)

Well I'm pretty tired from a long day playing football and eating Fu-fu. Sometimes I love it and sometimes I'm just not feeling it. Today I was feeling it then a little rumble in my tummy told me that I wasn't. One day we were returning home when some guy yelled WHITE MAN and called us over. Usually that's the cue to ignore them but something told me not to so we walked over and introduced ourselves. He offered us a chair and we started our little opening. I said something like this: "We are missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ and we have a message that is for everybody. The message is too long to share in just one visit so we would like to come back to visit you another day because you never know when an earthquake could come." I had intended to share our first discussion but my tummy decided that would be a bad idea. Earthquake is our code word for you know what's happening we need to get the frick back to the apartment. The guy we contacted didn't even notice. We took his number and rushed home.

That happens from time to time but at least I haven't pooped my pants yet (knock on wood). Elder Holmes did last week. Haha.

I'm going to go to bed now. I love you all! I hope you all had a great Halloween.

Love, Elder Harris

Ps. I love you Dad!