Elder Harris, Portia and Gordella

Monday, March 28, 2011


I had heard about problems that a bunch of elders were having with the MyLDS mail. I guess its a widespread thing. Sorry for not writing last week! It's just hard getting to the cafe all excited and then there's nothing there! Don't worry though. I feel bad so I won't do it again even if you don't write me.

Elder Haderlie sat right next to Elder Pinnell who sat right in front of me on the plane from New York to Ghana. He was my good friend in the MTC and now he's my companion. We'll be going home on the same day. Probably the 4th or the 5th. This week we both turn 18 months old but we're trying not to think about it too much. We will do something to celebrate it but I almost would prefer just letting it pass and go.

We've been working our butts off for the last week. Last Sunday, Elder Dickson came to the Takoradi Stake Conference and held a special meeting with the missionaries. He told us a bunch of things but these were what I wrote down. First he talked about building your brother. He said that if we could just look at the Celestial Kingdom for ten seconds none of us would ever hesitate to help build our brother. So go build your brother! Second he told us that if we haven't been the best missionaries in the world that this could be the time to plant your feet. Start now; it doesn't matter if you have 6 months to go, or you're 6 days on mission, plant your feet and make some memories. Then when we are a little older we can put our arm around a son, or a grandson and tell them something amazing that happened on our mission. A timely piece of advice that I've put into full effect this week. The spirit has taught me a great lesson about obedience and the Lord has seen fit to give me an absolute change of heart concerning it. I don't think I have ever been happier.

With us working harder we have had the chance to increase our teaching pool. President Sabey gave us a new version of the Promise Pattern that now includes the Doctrine of Christ. If you don't know what that is you can read 2nd Nephi 31. It's now called the Covenant Training Pattern and it allows us to train our investigators to make and keep commitments from the very first lesson. In a place where everyone will tell you, "Yes, I will come to church," or, "Yes, I will be baptized," it's a great way to determine who is really serious with our message and keeps us from condemning people who aren't ready for the message. Not only do we now invite people to be baptized during the very first lesson but we help them prepare for that baptism with promises. It also prepares them to endure to the end and continue on to the temple to receive even greater covenants that will bless them for all eternity. I love it and use it with every investigator.

We are right on the edge of the rainy season here in Sekondie. I hear that it is raining a lot in Accra but it has only rained once here. I'm thinking that the rains will come sometime in the next month. My boots are still strong but they have holes in the tread that suck up mud and stones. I'm pretty sure they are still water proof but they are starting to wear down a little bit. They should last for a long time after mission.

I sent a pic of Gordella. Precious is the younger one. Porchia is actually Princess. Princess Porchia Gyan Peterson. Brother Peterson loves P's I guess. Anyways this is the little girl who brought me down to the dust like David did Goliath. We bought canes though. They are what teachers and parents use to beat their children and they are really afraid of them! We leave them with Porchia for our lessons. I've only used it once.

Last night we got into 1st Chronicles and now we are suffering through the worst list of names I could ever think of. I want to read the whole thing though so we're doing it. Luckily, we read 30 pages a day so we won't have to suffer too long. I've come to realize that you can't really look for doctrine in the Old Testament. There are too many mistakes! I'm just taking it for the stories. What our reading has done is bring us closer together.

Your Elder's singing together reminded me of my first Christmas in Kumasi. All 30 or so missionaries in the area got up and sang The First Noel and during the final note which we held for a second or two, the power went out and there was a roar of applause. We were so powerful! Now most of those missionaries aren't around which is weird to me, but you can imagine just how President Monson felt when he became the prophet. All of the 14 men he came to join in the apostleship had passed away and now there are 14 new apostles. Mission is just like that! Just they aren't usually dead!

All right I must go now. Don't you ever cry for me Mom! I'm enjoying an sweet time in my life and definitely the easiest time. Elder Holland told us to enjoy every last second, the good times and bad times, the heat and the...cold! He said that every good thing that ever happened to him ever since came because he decided to serve a mission. Soon it will be over and I finally feel like it will be too soon!

I love you all!
Elder Harris
AKA. Senior Esteban Vasquez

Monday, March 14, 2011

Hello Family,

Was I cranky? I didn't mean it. Maybe it was the full night of no sleep I had had the night before;) I love the work here but the living just stinks sometimes. Not this week though! Full power and plenty of water all week long! I guess the power still goes off everyday but its at better times of the day.

We just played football against the same kids we played last transfer at the crappy pitch. This time they came to Takoradi so we had a nice pull pitch. Not too many people in our zone wanted to play though which stunk cause we had to play longer. I put my all into this game and I'm hurting a bit now. I've definitely got a little bit of Dad in me because I lost my cool a little bit. They kicked a penalty kick and I cleared the ball with my face and I yelled a few not so good words at him. The ball went out and they got a corner kick off of which one guy headed it at the goal but it hit the the post and shot back. Somebody cleared it and I yelled THIS IS MY HOUSE at the top of my lungs. They came back and scored in about two minutes and won 2-1. I'm a great example!

Transfers were pretty quiet for us here. Elder Clements is training a new guy name Elder Long from Texas. He's a pretty quite guy but I got him talking today about music. The Shins mostly. That reminds me that when I come home I have to watch a movie called Garden State. Remind me.

I'm still with Elder Hadderlie and Elder Thacker came to replace Elder Moiwo, one of my MTs. The only loss was Elder Tracy which really stinks! But its ok, I can deal with that!

Thursday was D-Day for Elder Hadderlie and I. The sprint to the finish began that day and we both vowed to be as obedient as possible till the end our missions. The Lord saw it fit to give me a good change of heart in that I no longer desire to be the "rebel." I never was all out apostate but I did have weaknesses that didn't need to be weaknesses. That same day I randomly said to Haderlie, "We should start reading the Old Testament together!" He didn't seem too excited but later we decided to read the whole thing by the end of this transfer. 6 weeks! We have to read 28 pages a day and so far we are into Exodus. Its been really sweet.

Wow when did the earthquake hit? I don't think I've ever heard of an earthquake that big. Elder Haderlie told me that this morning over a thousand bodies washed ashore. It makes me wonder at what is still to come. Think about the Nephites when the Lord passed away. I don't know when the second coming will come (even though I have reason to believe it wont come within the next 50 years because of one elder's patriarchal blessing) but I think we better follow the counsil of Wilford Woodruff who said he would live like it was tomorrow. Our time here could end at any minute. Don't worry though. Ghana doesn't get earthquakes! I think you better

Last week the Assin Fosu district became a stake and believe it or not, Achiese became a ward yesterday. My recent convert, Amos, is the first counselor in the bishopric! He just attended the temple for the first time a couple months ago and I'm sure that his family will be sealed before I come home in October! He's still a recent convert but I always knew he would do big things for the church there.

This week a seven year old girl found my weakness. At Porchia's place there are always a lot of stubborn children who like to disturb us. Gordella is Portia's little sister. She kept trying to crack my fingers and jump on my back but I always had the upper hand and would tickle her into submission. However she snuck up behind me on my little wooden stool and lunged her fingers into my side. Well...that is my weakness. I couldn't stop laughing and yelling NO in a girly voice! Finally I swung around and tried to grab her but she kept going till I fell on my back in the dirt. I was laughing so hard I was crying. She pretty much destroyed me.

So with our new obedience goal we decided together on the following:
First no media beside that which has been allowed by the white bible
1 hour at the cafe with one site only (My lds mail)

That was all we had trouble with. We've been trying to work harder as well and have companionship study. The study has been easier since we are reading the bible. I feel lighter in spirit and the work has been more enjoyable as we've humbled ourselves. I am still willing to listen to the disdangs Jeremy has made since it won't be distracting in any way.

All right I love you all very much I hope you all enjoy your week.

Love Elder Harris

Gold teeth and a curse for this town
Were all in my mouth
Only I don't know how
They got out dear!
Turn me back into the pet,
I was when we met,
I was happier then with no mindset

If you turn, to me like, a gull turns in the wind
I'd a trust In my dreams and
I'd a danced like the king of the eyesores
the rest of our lives would have fared well

New slang when you notice the stripes
The dirt in your fries
Hope its right when you die
Old and bony
Dawn breaks like a bull through the hall
I never should have called
But my backs to the wall and I'm lonely

If you turn to me like a gull turns in the wind
I'd a trust in my dreams and well
I'd a danced like the king of the eyesores
The rest of our lives would have fared well

God speed all the bakers at dawn
May they all cut their thumbs
And bleed into their buns till they melt away

I'm looking in
On the good life
I may be doomed never to find
Without a trust in flaming fields
Am I too dumb to refine
And if you turn to me like, well
I'd a danced like the king of the eyesores
And the rest of our lives would have fared well

New Slang, The Shins

Monday, March 7, 2011

Hey family,

This week has been different in a way. Two times the power was out all night long and I suffered very well. The first night I just about cursed everything in existence and was pissed beyond rational thinking all night long. Last night the power went off at exactly 10:30 (our bed time now) and came on at 6:41. This time I took it a little better. I didn't go to bed because I knew there was no chance for any sleep so I read for a couple hours and wrote some letters. Finally I went to bed and suffered for the rest of the night with really weird dreams about the apocalypse. I guess its a learning experience for me. If I can go a whole night of hot sweaty half sleep without cursing everything, I can go through a lot. It will definitely help me become more Christ-like.

We had some random interviews on Tuesday after district meeting and I was on fire but my stomach wasn't. I actually spent that entire day in the apartment. We talked about how the work is and how I'm doing and how my companion is and how I need to sprint to the finish. It was a sweet interview that I need more often.

Today is transfer news day and we are anticipating a big transfer. There are thirteen new elders coming in and that means a lot of trainers. Four were supposed to go to Ivory Coast but they had to be reassigned because of the war. I really hope that Elder Haderlie stays here in Kojokrom but I can deal with whatever. As the time starts to ware down I just don't care about what I'll have to go through. Well this situation stinks...Its ok I only have five transfers. I hope I don't have to feel that way so that I can really enjoy till the end and not leave the mission before It's over like President Sabey told me.

I wrote you a letter. It's the same old random me so don't be suprized.

Today we had a zone feast. Fried Rice, chicken, and Alvaro. It was fun but boring at the same time. I really hope they bring us more people here in Takoradi cause now that traveling on P-day has basically been canceled, this place is worse then Kumasi. Still, I'm not complaining. I only have 5 transfers left, haha.

I'm pretty tired. I'll let you know what happens with transfers next week. Hopefully there won't be any news!

Elder Harris

When you get up in the morning and the light is hurt your head
The first thing you do when you get up out of bed
Is hit that streets a-runnin' and try to beat the masses
And go get yourself some cheap sunglasses
Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah

Spied a little thing and I followed her all night
In a funky fine Levis and her sweater's kind of tight
She had a west coast strut that was as sweet as molasses
But what really knocked me out was her cheap sunglasses
Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah

Now go out and get yourself some big black frames
With the glass so dark they won't even know your name
And the choice is up to you 'cause they come in two classes
Rhinestone shades or cheap sunglasses
Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah

Cheap Sunglasses, ZZ TOP

The coolest song ever written...