Elder Harris, Portia and Gordella

Monday, April 25, 2011

Dear Family,

Poo is a completely ordinary part of life. You do it. I do it. Everybody does it. All I do is teach people what life is really about and Poo is part of it. Sometimes we just need to talk about the dirty things. I'm around Poo everyday! I'm used to it.

When I was in high school, I had a sign language teacher who was big and flamboyant. Besides his usual sign language teacher duties, he also helped with the cheer squad and was in charge of those girls who wave the flags around with the band. He often wore tight black shirts and it wasn't unusual to see one or both of his nipple rings. He was by far one of my favorite teachers. In sign language, facial expressions are very important in conveying mood and meaning, so Mr. Gallimore had a whole cheer made up so we could remember them all. In his big booming voice he would start ZOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMLIOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONNNNNN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Now you can picture the Lion part in the most flamboyant way possible and that's how he did it. He wouldn't do it very often but we loved it. Now in Ghana the dudes who go around picking all the trash are part of a company called ZOOMLION. Back in my days with Elder Akoki, he took a picture of me with Elder Adjei's crappy film camera, which had a crazy long zoom on it and ever since he would call me ZOOMLION. I think it will be a sweet band name in the future but I'm not really sure how copywrite laws work here. We shall see!

You weren't late in sending me an Easter greeting. Today, in Ghana, is Easter Monday and is celebrated by many as a holiday. Our Easter was pretty boring since I didn't see a single rabbit anywhere and no painted eggs. What a drag! I spent my small free time on the weekend reading about the final week of Christ's mortal ministry in Jesus the Christ. I read about His triumphant entry into Jerusalem and His final public teachings in the temple. I thought it was interesting that He visited the temple the first day, looked around, and returned the next day fully prepared to drive the sellers and the money changers. Talmage says that no evil could withstand the righteous command of the Master as he drove them out of His holy house. I read about the betrayal, the final supper and the sacrament, the awful hell Christ faced in Gethsemane, the trial, crucifixion, and finally the glorious day of His resurrection. Nothing is more important to me then the words of the angel crying, "He is risen!" I know that He lives and knows my name and is willing to do everything he can to see me enter into the mansion he has prepared. I am grateful for that.

Church was boring yesterday and keeps getting more boring every week. The problem is not the spirit of the speakers but the delivery. I think they want to give a good talk but taking Gospel Principals and reading an entire section in front of the congregation is not a talk. Somebody needs to instruct the members! I just don't know what I can do about it. It's so common here for people to look at us and say, "Oh that's just the white man way of doing things."

I will say that this ward is the most effective ward I've been in. We don't have a lot of referrals to teach right now but we are taking steps in reactivation. This is the first ward I've been in that has actually taken steps past preaching about it. Brother Charles Mensah of the Kojokrom bishopric has been meeting with us and the ward missionaries every Thursday to coordinate visits to less actives every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. It has been sweet and we have already seen the spirit work in some of those who haven't been to church in a long time. They were able to visit Prince Peterson, Porcha's older brother, who came to church for his confirmation and hasn't come since. He actually came to church yesterday and despite the boring Sacrament Meeting (it wasn't boring to me since I don't hear the Fanti and it seemed the same as any other Sunday) he enjoyed the classes after wards. I hope it left a lasting impression on him and he will come every Sunday his work doesn't keep him away.

I know that you will be happy to hear I've been eating pancakes everyday for the past week. We bought a whole bunch of flour, eggs and other stuff so we can have it everyday for a long time. The first couple of days it was just too much food for my shrunken tummy to handle but it seems to be expanding small small. I don't know how healthy they are but at least I'm eating! I'm pretty much finished with Eba. I got sick of it after I ate nothing but Eba for like 4 days. Now I don't even like to think about it.

Did I ever tell you about Chioa Cat? It was the cat that would run up to me from across Sister Yaa's compound in Asokwa. I just got a letter from her and yeah, It's dead. They made light soup with it and ate it with Fu Fu. This is the quote:

"Dear Elder Harris...Do you still remember that Chioa Cat? Wow; well that's very nice of you but I'm sorry, you knew how I felt about that Chioa Cat, I could not take it anymore so I had to use it for my fufu, it's gone. The Chioa Cat is dead. I'm sorry to tell you that but there was nothing I could do."

Oh well, I guess that's the end of Mr. Chioa Cat. I thought the letter was pretty funny though. I miss Sister Yaa a lot and it's a pity I probably won't ever see her again.

That's about it for this week.

I love you all!
Love Elder Harris

Monday, April 18, 2011

Dear Family,

Which letter? My email or the one I sent to Dad? Haha, I hope he got that one cause it was heavy for me. We'll talk more about school later I think. LDS business college sounds really sweet to me and Elder Lehr says they have a return missionary scholarship. The only other thing would be to see if I need to take any tests or not. I've never taken an SAT or anything like that. To be honest the easiest thing would be to just go straight to UVU, but this would be less expensive and just the same. If worse comes to worse I could got up in January and work as much as I could and start a summer semester. Anyways I'm not thinking too much about it. But it does creep up on me from time to time.

I don't have much to report this week. I was sick with the flu! The flu part wasn't so bad but I did have the same problem as Jeremy and It's been all week. I'm on antibiotics now so it's going away and the cold/flu thing is completely gone. We spent a few days in the apartment rotting away. So I've sent you a few pics from the week. Gordella came to church by herself this week and was trying to be invisible so I decided to be invisible with her. She is such a funny little girl. She won't even talk to Elder Haderlie but I can get her to say a few words. I don't think she speaks much English. Every time we come now, she puts her hands over her eyes and becomes invisible.

I really hope to stay here for the rest of my mission. I've never been so close with the members of any of my former areas. The only drag would be if Elder Haderlie get's transfered. We get the news today but it hasn't come yet. I'm not sure if there will be many changes since we basically had transfers in the middle of the transfer. Everybody was scrambled around a little bit. We had a free p-day today so we just hung out with Elder Thompson.

President Sabey just called and wanted to talk with Elder Haderlie! Haha, Sucker! He's a big District Leader now! I talked to President really quick about a couple questions I had and he said to support Elder Haderlie so I'm pretty sure I'm not going anywhere! Sweet! I'm really happy!

Anyways, this computer is being stupid so the photo's aren't coming:(

I'm glad to hear about our boys in Accra. I was told that Elder Dallin H. Oaks visited the mission and offered a very powerful prayer in their behalf. I doubt very much that they will stay in the mission though. I'm sure they will go home. You know more then me though. We haven't heard the news yet. Let me know.

Well I'm running out of time. I want you to know that I love you all. Tell Jeremy you just get used to it after a while. I'll be calling for my last time very soon! I'm excited to watch Conference soon also. Oh yeah I forgot to mention we finished the Old Testament today! HURRAY FOR ME! I'll never read it all the way through again.

Love you,
Elder Harris
AKA Dr. Flagons

It's the cruelest joke to play
I'm so high, I'm running in place
Only between lines, we seperate

I keep on playing our favorite song
I turn it up while your gone
It's all I've got when you're in my head
And you're in my head so I need it

You're the only thing I've got
But I can't seem to get enough
We could laugh the morning rays

I keep on playing our favorite song
I turn it up while your gone
It's all I've got when your in my head
And your in my head so I need

Hurry up
And wait

I keep on playing our favorite song
I turn it up while your gone
It's all I've got when your in my head
And your in my head so I need
I need it
I need it
I need it now

In My Head- Queens of the Stone Age

Monday, April 11, 2011

Dear Family!

Today we actually got the chance to play Cape Coast and Abura Zones in a football match. We lost 6-5 but it was a good game. The outnumbered us by a lot and they actually have really good strikers. Today may be the last day I saw Elder Asiedu, Sister Awuna, and Sister Isidor. My sister Mt's are dying and it really feels like the beginning of the end. This is the fourth quarter! We're tied and at the end I need to shoot a saving three from half quart. I guess I just need to work hard.

This week I had my final interview with President Sabey. What a crazy thing that is! We talked a lot about my recent changes and how happy he is about Elder Haderlie and I. He says that the change in my from the beginning of my mission is apparent. He said that where I was shallow I have become deep. I don't feel like I've changed that much but I do know that there's still a lot of work to be done. That's why Elder Golden said that the key to humility is exact obedience. The reason being that we can never do it! We can never say there's no more I can do. There's no more work to be done. I told him that for the first time in my life I have hope for the future. I have hope of exaltation. At that he told me a story. He and Sister Sabey attended a Fireside years ago where Elder Bruce R. Mckonkie spoke. He had been invited to speak on some topic but when he got up to speak he thanked the people who invited him and said that he had prepared a talk on that subject but during the opening hymn the spirit commanded him to change the topic. Then he said, "So, if the spirit will guide, I will continue." He went on and spoke about Eternal Marriage and in the course of that, he said that we don't need to worry and fret over the fact that we are not perfect. God never intended us to be perfect! There will be an entire host of teachings and learning that will be done in the spirit world that we can't even comprehend right now. If we plant our feet now and decide to follow the Savior with full purpose of heart we will achieve exaltation, regardless of our weaknesses. President Sabey couldn't tell me how many people filled the Provo Mariot Center but there was a collective sight of relief. What a wonderful insight we have! What a wonderful knowledge to know that what we are doing is what God would have us do! What a relief and what hope that it brings. I am happy! Happy for real, in a way that I could never have ever imagined before I came on my mission. There is still a lot of work to be done, but I feel like I'm on my way. I expressed to President Sabey my love for him and how his teachings have changed my life and he took my hand and said I love you. Then it was over and I'll only get to see President Sabey a few more times before he leaves in July. I'll miss him a lot.

Eba is a wonderful dish. It's called the celestial food by most African's, especially Nigerians. I can't think of something with more protein then peanut butter soup with chicken in it! OK maybe I don't love it that much. It's all I've been eating for the past few day's. I run out of money so fast and it really scares me for when I plan to live in Utah. How the heck will I survive??? I thought that for the first time last night, but it's really what I want to do. If you want to look at another School you can look at the LDS Business college in Salt Lake. That sounds like the best plan to me since I could carpool with Elder Lehr from Provo twice a week and I could be working the rest of the time. To tell you the truth, I don't even know what to look for when researching schools. Haha, just look for me! Use the spirit. I'm looking for general eds. The Problem is the fact that UVU makes you pay out of state tuition and that's why LDS business college would be sweet since I have no money!;) I could go there for a year or I could get a degree or something and transfer to BYU or UVU or wherever I wanted. I don't know. I don't really think about this stuff too much. Now I'm rambling.

The Elders in your ward sound sweet. Are they in a threesome? Has he learned English yet? Those guys have it really tough. Maybe not food wise, or living wise, or anything like that, but the work there is hard! I am so freaking lucky to be in a mission where I can go months without being rejected. People aren't serious that's true but nobody will throw the door in your face. If they have a door that is. Send them my greetings and my love. Go with the flow my dear brothers! Enjoy your mission;)

Jeremy's been sick huh? Sorry for him! Give him a kiss on the forehead for me and run your hand through his beautiful locks.

We're into Isaiah now and I'm actually enjoying it a lot. I can't say I remember a lot of it but the language is powerful and direct. It's understandable most of the time. There's also sweet prophecies of the Savior that I didn't know about. I pay extra attention to the chapters quoted in the Book of Mormon. If Elder Haderlie and I are still together next transfer we are gonna read the New Testaments.

I bought the entire season of Band of Brothers for two cedis last week. Are there any other things I should look for?

Well nothing else is happening really. We started contacting small small but the experience isn't really enjoyable or effective. Pray for us please since the mission is having some troubles. We need a lot of help from the Lord if we are going to accomplish this goal. Prepare for my coming for behold, I come quickly.

Love Elder Harris

Monday, April 4, 2011

Dear Family,

April! April! Shout it out on the rooftops It's April! Did they have General Conference yesterday? Third one down!

On the last day of March, I received a call from Elder Holmes in Kumasi. He informed me that there were about twenty transfers happening on the 1rst right in the middle of the transfer period. It was really random and I sat there wondering what the heck! Everyone in Kumasi was scrambled around and Elder Wright the AP was released to boost an area. I'm not really sure what happened but President knows what he is doing. Sekondi only had one transfer though. Elder Asiedu was transfered to his first area and Elder Jeppesen is now our zone leader. I jumped in the area and let our a WHOOOPIEEEEE when I heard the news. Not that I dislike Elder Asiedu or anything but It's sweet to be near Elder Jeppesen again after a whole year apart. We were together from the beginning you know! Elder Rogers is now in Asouyeboah with elder Wright and Holmes is now in Assin Fosu North. A pity they didn't come here but I will deal. Now all I need is Elder Pinnell to get transferred from Boulkrom to here and I my joy will be full!

My companion and I are doing well despite the challenges of a slow area. This area is actually becoming slower then Asokwa was, just we are more one with the members. They really like Elder Haderlie and I so I hope we stick together till the end. The odds aren't very good for Elder Haderlie though. Porchia has been working on getting us referrals but the problem is they are just people who live in her compound who happen to see us everyday. She hasn't talked about the church to them and none of them are very interested at all. We hardly get passed the Promise Pattern before they disappear. It's a good thing she is trying though. We have one good progressing investigator who has come to church and seems interested in baptism but he's freaking hard to meet because of his work. He has missed two appointments this week and didn't come to church so I'm worried about him. We are trying though. I don't have much hope for a baptism this transfer though. Maybe early next transfer.

Sorry for Phoebe. Someone should have told her that Fox tails are dangerous to sniff. She should just say NO! I think that it would be sweet to have a pirate dog. I love pirates! One member named Gifty told us she was having trouble understanding one of her class books so we offered to help her read. It happened to be Treasure Island and we went through two chapters with her. We got to the part when Bill had his stroke and the blind man came and gave him the black spot. I was so tempted to ask if we could borrow it just for a night but I didn't. I love that book though. I miss novels in general.

Elder Hadelie and I have been surviving on almost nothing but Eba this week. Eba is made by mixing hot water and Gari (grinded up Casava). We eat it with Ground Nut soup which is amazing. Haderlie is gonna teach me how to make it today or tomorrow and I'll have to come home and make it for you. It can be eaten with Fu Fu, Eba, Rice Ball or pretty much anything you like. We could probably put it on mashed potatoes or something. Eba is freaking cheap and if I survive on it with rice and tomato stew I should be able to live off sub this week. I'm trying to save the money you gave me for some souvenirs. Don't be surprized when I don't come home with much though cause President Sabey cracked down on it last week. The big problem is African elders saving subsistence money and using it to buy nice shoes, clothes, blenders, i-pods, speakers, and a whole bunch of other stuff. It's ridiculous really but President is doing a good job of eliminating the problem without being too strict about it. He doesn't want to turn this missionary experience into a merchandise opportunity. I will buy some things though that will remind us all of Mother Africa!

A package? I knew it because today was the last day they took money out of my sub to pay for duty! Don't worry though I can deal with it. Ummm, it's so hard to try to think of things for you to send me. I ran out of seasoning salt and that was sweet to have. The tomato sauce packs are awesome too. What about a York Peppermint patty? Oh wow. Or a whole cheesecake? Maybe that won't work:( That would be really nice to have when I come home though. A nice big cheese cake with a copy of the Good The Bad and the Ugly or Pale Rider to watch. Air conditioning (not too high) and a couch that is actually soft and not made of foam. Then we can all take a nice long nap and watch UEFA Champions League in HD! All right! Sorry I zoned out for a second. You can definitely take some pictures of stuff and put them in their with letters and sparkly disdangs!

So I'm not thinking too much of coming home but pretty soon we will have to talk about school a little bit. I want to start in January but I don't know if I will have the time to sign up and get everything I need done by then. If worse comes to worse I will go up to Utah to work and maybe just attend a community college owned by the Church in Salt Lake with Tracy. I'll need your help with some things though before I come home. We'll talk about it in the near future but If you like you can look into UVU for me. Costs, courses ext. I really don't know what to look for but you can focus on Generals. Thank You!

Well I'm running out of time. I forgot my chord so no pics sorry! It's a beautiful rainy day outside and I'm ready to get out of Takoradi. Have a sweet day! I love you!

Elder Harris
AKA Bloody Bill Williams

Ten dead sailors on the shipwrecks bow
Yar Ye Matey YO HO!