Elder Harris, Portia and Gordella

Monday, May 30, 2011

Hello Family,

I took this medication and I've been feeling a lot more healthy then I was before. I eat our pancakes now without difficulty and I'm hungry more often. No more just going to bed because I don't feel like dinner. I'm trying to vary my diet a little bit too but that is difficult here. Spaghetti, Rice, Kenke, pancakes and occasional fu fu.

Yesterday was a sweet Sunday for us. We got up and went to church at 8:00 am and Porcha gave her first talk in Sacrament meeting. We taught her this week and I told her she is not allowed to read from Gospel Principles like everybody else. We showed her all the references in the scriptures she could use and left her to write her talk. She did great even though she was nervous. She read her entire talk but didn't use Gospel Principles at all. It was about God the Father and she sort of gave it to people for hollow worshiping or basically just going through the motions. She said that we need to serve God because we love Him. Porcha is also making more friends since we kicked her out of the investigator's class and she now goes to Young Women. In the evening we stopped by the chapel and she and the other young men and women were preparing for a play they will perform at midweek. She could act very well and everyone was having a fun time. I'm happy because I felt for a while that she was too close to us and wasn't making friends. Now she is a part of the Ward family and I know they will keep her around.

We also went to eat Fu Fu at a member's place with Elder Chime, Elder Fawole, Elder Grant, and Elder Bassey. Elder Chime, my former Zone Leader (he's been released since then), is going home today along with Elder Akoki. I called Elder Akoki last night and he told me to guess where he was. He was in Asokwa, near the big Pentecost House, ten or so minutes from the Asokwa apartment. We walked there everyday and the final place he proselyted was where he walked on the first day of his mission. I'm going to miss that Chioa guy!

Today is Transfer day and there should be a lot of changes. 17 new Elders and Sisters are coming into the mission this week and they all need to be trained, plus Elder Chime and Elder Akwori are going home. That means that there will be at least two new missionaries in our district and Elder Haderlie and Elder Bassey have been in the area for a long time. Both of them could easily go. The sucky part is that we just don't know what's going to happen! Transfer day is all about waiting. Today we had a zone breakfast at Sekondie chapel and ate Pancakes and French toast. Then we just sat around for about an hour before Elder Newbold and I started looking for chalk. There wasn't any chalk so we headed downstairs and found a big white board on wheels. We carried it up the stairs and we played hangman for about 4 or 5 hours. And we're still waiting!!

I sent you a bunch of pictures and videos today. This will probably be the last one so enjoy it!

That is so weird that the Palilla kid is leaving on his mission. I still see him as the small boy I used to know. Well he is a small boy still but not for long. You do a lot of growing on you mission. Missions can take it out of you and if you don't grow up here I don't know where you will. Jeffrey R. Holland told us to never forget about what we give a lot of lip service too. That is that we have the potential to become like God and if we don't get a huge step towards that goal on our mission, he doesn't know where we will.

Well I'm running out of time. I love you very much! I still haven't received the package but maybe it will come this week. I also sent you a letter Mom!

Love Elder Harris

Monday, May 23, 2011

Dear Family,

Another day in Takoradi! We just played a long game of football against the Cape Coast Zones and I'm dead and a half. I'm not healthy. I can feel it and when I talked to Sister Sabey this morning she asked me if I've been losing weight. I told her that I feel skinnier but not too much. She noticed it at Zone Conference this week and if she says I'm losing weight, then I must be. I stopped the Antibiotics and she just told me to take a stronger parasite medication which I only take once. If this doesn't work we'll try something else. Don't worry, I'm mostly OK! I think the worst part about today was getting fried by the sun. I put sunscreen on but my head is killing me and the light is killing my eyes.

This week has been pretty typical. Visiting members and our investigator Lizzy. She is actually progressing which is not too surprising to me because I know that the Lord led us to her. There are a few times when I could see His hand in an investigators life but this was a good one. One night a few weeks ago we were out of things to do at about 7 in the evening. It was dark and heading back to the apartment sounded like a good idea. A thought popped in my head saying that we could see one person. I felt prompted to contact just one family that evening before we could head back home. Contacting sucks but I decided to follow the prompting and I silently asked Heavenly Father, "Well, Where?" I couldn't think of anywhere but the thought popped in my head saying, "Your companion knows, ask him." So I did and he immediately knew where we could go. He had been thinking of this one woman we walk by from time to time. He said that he had decided if we had to contact, that would be who.

So we went to her house in the dark and she was home. We taught her a small starting lesson about the Savior, His doctrine, and the importance of making and keeping promises. Then we left thinking well we did what God asked, we'll see if it goes anywhere.

We lost touch for about a week, then we went there after correlation with Mike Mensah and Sammy Sego, two ward missionaries. There were a bunch of people there talking in Fante and moving around her compound. Mike figured out what was going on and next thing I knew I was carrying sand in big basins on my head from one pile to another 15ft away. Elder Haderlie and I had to fight to get the locals to fill our basins because they didn't think we could do it. We worked for an hour and a half and managed to move the entire pile for them. We went home dirty but satisfied with our work.

Ever since then, Sister Lizzy opened up and we have been able to teach her more effectively. She doesn't go to church anymore because she could see the corruption in her former churches. When we taught her last, she had a friend there and she stood up for what we were teaching. We finished the Restoration last Saturday and gave her a Book of Mormon to read. Hopefully she will come to church this week too. She has been prepared so we'll see if this is her time. If she keeps her commitments and finds that our message is true, we will baptize her in June.

Our two boys who have been going to Sekondie, still haven't come to Kojokrom but hopefully next week. If they don't I'll just assign Elder Newbold to teach them there. If they want to go there,

We had a Zone Conference this week. I thought it would be our last with President Sabey but I learned we will be having another in June before they leave. It was a sweet conference and President Sabey taught about the Doctrine of Joy, the very meaning of our existence. In that he once again taught us the Doctrine of Oneness which he taught in my very first Zone Conference in 2009. He taught us the importance of oneness in: 1) The Godhead, 2)The Apostles and the Church, 3)Our Companions (including out eternal ones stating: I care far less about what kind of missionaries you are now then what kind of fathers and mothers you will become), and 4)With Christ. It was a sweet instruction that took up about 3 pages in my study journal. Joy is bedrock doctrine and nobody outside of the church knows anything about it. It's the why to our suffering! What peace can come from the knowledge that our suffering has a purpose and if we endure it well, we can learn and grow and become happier. This was also the last conference for the Lambs who are the couple missionaries in our area. They are wonderful people who we will miss. Next to go home is Elder Akoki, then the Sabeys, then Elder Lehr.

We are working hard despite our challenges. I love it here and I love my companion. I'm afraid that I might train again in a few weeks because there are 17 new missionaries coming to our mission. I guess they are gearing up for the summer and fall when there will be 28 leaving in August, 18 in October and 17 in December. This mission is an old mission and we are all going to die at once. Training would be sweet but at the same time sooo lame! If I do train I hope he's from Zimbabwe cause those people are cool!

I love you all! Keep on walking; it's good for you! Keep on eating that pizza and hotdog's and cheesecake and all the other good things you have there too! I'll stick with my spaghetti and pancakes. Pray for my poor tummy too. It has taken a beating but it will survive!

Love Elder Harris

Probably have done this one before but it's in my head:

After all, these implements
And texts designed by intellects
We vexed to find evidently there's still
So much that hides
And though, the saints dub us
Divine in ancient fading lines
There sentiment is just as hard
To pluck from the vine

I'll try hard not to give in
Batten down to fare the wind
As I step into the night

Now I don't have the time nor mind
To figure out the nursery rhymes
That helped us out in making sense of out lives
The cruel, uneventful state
Of Apathy releases me
I value them but I won't cry
Every time one wipes out

I'll try hard not give in
Batten down to fare the wind
Getting rid of my pretense
Stepping hard in my pretense
As I step into the night

Ladidada, Ladidada,

Mercy's eyes are blue
And when she places them in front of you
You can't hold a roman candle to
The solemn warmth you feel inside

Forgot the chorus but its close! Saint Simon-The Shins
You should look it up because it's sweet!
- Show quoted text -

Monday, May 16, 2011

Dear Mom,

I did get the letter and I filled it out and sent it a week or two ago. It will take time cause I sent it through the pouch. Sorry but I didn't know. I also told them that they would have to call you to get the addresses to my schools and a copy of the registration form for the Nissan Altima. Maybe the Lord will just smite them for us. Just kidding...

I've been sick all week. I've been able to get out and work everyday but eating has been difficult. Even when I get anywhere close to full I get nauseous. Sister Sabey had me take a worm medication and I'm on antibiotics for some other problems too. I just miss feeling normal! There's always something wrong with me.

On Saturday Elder Haderlie and I went down to the chapel to do some yard work. Mowing here is an experience. The mower is old and we don't use a bag and the grass is very thick in places. It doesn't have a gear to pull you along so you just have to push and pull with your might, trying not to go too fast or the mower will jam and shut off. We did the entire field around the chapel and by the end my hands were bruised but we enjoyed the extra work. It sure beats machetes. At one point Isaac Blanksten started yelling and swinging his machete around. There was a snake in the grass! He screamed and took it out with the machete. I came running over to see what scared him so bad and I saw a snake that was about 6 inches long and less then a centimeter thick. Ghanains are so afraid of snakes! They prefer big spiders to small snakes. I just laughed at him.

This week I had a dream where I actually took control of the dream. I layed back on my bed and fell asleep without knowing it. I still felt like I was looking at the ceiling when I heard dogs outside. I hoped up onto my bed and jumped over my fan just as a big dog broke into the room. I shot it from the air with a shot gun and ran out of the house as more dogs went after Elder Haderlie in the next room. I realised I was dreaming so I ditched Elder Haderlie and jumped into the air to fly away. It was hard to push my body up at first but then I started speeding up and before I knew it I was high in the atmosphere and I could see the curve of the earth. Then I started to level out and I lost control. I started to plummet face first toward the earth. I felt all the sensations of falling a long distance; the drop out and everything. I managed to get my feet under me though and I landed hard in a baseball field somewhere near some corn. I thought the landing would wake me up but it didn't. That's all I can remember!

Perry is going to Ohio? That's pretty sweet! You're right that it doesn't matter where you serve, the work is always difficult. I used to think that If I could just get to the right area, I would get a lot more people to join the church. I was wrong. It all has to do with how hard you work and the people's own agency. I could be the best missionary in the world and not baptize a single person. It happens all the time in Europe and other places. He will enjoy himself. I'm proud of that guy. Send him my greetings.

We watched Priesthood session on Saturday again. I'm just amazed at the power that the First Presidency has. If you can send me a copy of the ensign that would be sweet so that I can give the one we get from the mission away. I'm going to try avoiding the three dreaded W's: Worried, Worrying, and Whining. I also liked how President Monson pretty much told all the marriage age young men to just grow up and get married. I love all three of them and I pray that the Lord will lift them up in their callings.

We still have two investigators who have been going to church at Sekondie but can't get enough time to meet with us. They told Elder Newbold that starting next week they will come to Kojokrom and meet with us. We should be able to teach them and get them baptized pretty quick since they've been coming to church regularly. I wonder what got them going in the first place. Hopefully we'll find out this week. We also found out that our goal candidates have harder challenges to overcome then we expected. President Sabey is now helping us but we are going to start working on a back up in another area. We will try our hardest to send Edward and Felicity to the temple though. They are wonderful people and I wish the Stake would take their sealing a little bit more seriously but I also realize that the stake president has a lot of crud on this table to solve. It's not easy being a leader here in Ghana where the church is relatively new and there are so many mistakes to fix. We'll continue praying and doing all we can to help. God wants this goal to be accomplished and I've seen him work mighty miracle in our behalf. The thing that amazes me though is not the big things he does but the small, very tiny, minute things that He can do that change lives and eternities. Lately I've been more and more amazed by the sheer power of the atonement. That one Man could take upon Himself every single horrible thing that world of people have felt blows my mind. It is a wonderful thing.

That would be sweet if you could check out the college for me. I would just like to know what I would need to do to get in by January. Also, did you ever get any paperwork for renewing my driver's license? It expires in August and I would like to avoid taking another test. I'm not sure but I think the accident might effect that though.

Well I'm out of time. Pray for me! I love each of you and I hope that they get my letter. Please tell them it may take some time. I hope it didn't get lost. I love you all!

Love Elder Harris

Lord, please, don't forsake me
In my Mercedes Benz
All riches and the ruins
We all know how that story ends

Strange Apparition
Haunting my brain
Standing on the cross hairs
Of a dream that walked away

When you Lord, Rings my front Door
And asks me, what I've got to show
Besides the dust, In my pockets
And the things that just eat my soul

Strange Apparition
Haunting my brain
Standing on the last legs
Of a dream that got cremated

The Things I had to look on
Is the least I seem to care
If anything could make you happy
Then nothing could ever make you scared
We'll be on the shoreline
When that heavy ship goes down
Did you think you were lucky?
Well you should see yourself now

Strange Apparition- BECK

Ps. Pray for our water to come back on!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Dear Family,

This week has been pretty busy. A lot of ups and downs, power outs, and failed appointments. I'm enjoying myself though and time is ticking a little too fast for my comfort. This day marks my 19th month in the mission. What happened to the 18th? I'm not sure! We are working hard and setting goals to work harder. We don't care about numbers so much because we have faith that as we are working hard the blessings will come. President Sabey has told us he has no clue who baptizes the most people in the mission. He doesn't care! We all do care about the quality of those baptisms and we are working hard to insure that they are fruit that remain.

This week we did the normal thing everyday with the additional less active work. We actually had two of our less actives come to church yesterday which was a great blessing for us. They both used to be strong members who, due to certain circumstances, stopped coming and were both a little shy about coming back. I wish that I could shake them them into understanding that coming back will bring far greater blessings then they can even begin to imagine but the best thing for them is to have the local members do it for us. Brother Charles Mensah has been doing a great job and I hope it continues. We will continue to do the best we can.

We attended a wedding on Saturday for our goal candidates. Brother Edward and Sister Felicity were married civilly and should be sealed in the temple sometime this week or the next. They wanted a small wedding but nobody seemed to care what they wanted so the big wedding we attended felt very awkward for them. I could see that Sister Felicity really wasn't too happy the whole time. Normally we would not have stayed for most of the wedding but the Groom's camera man failed to come so we provided service by taking pictures of the ceremony and the reception after wards. There were a lot of stupid tradition things that I know they didn't really want but Ghanaians get so hurt about these things. God forbid they offend someone! I am glad that this experience will only make their sealing in the temple so much better. I wish that I could go with them to enjoy it but I can't.

Yesterday we got to watch two sessions of conference, the Saturday afternoon, and the Sunday morning. I love conference and I feel like they keep getting better as time goes by. My favorite story was the one about the little girl who had a long surgery and as she was slowly waking up, she could see members of her family who had passed away in the room with her. She said that all the children had angels surrounding them. I thought of my Grandma and others who have passed away and I felt a profound sense of peace in knowing they would do all they could to help me out. It's funny that I was so young when Grandma Kay died but I still feel close to her sometimes. I have no doubt that God loves us so much and I am grateful for the help He is willing to give.

I don't have too much else to report. I just listened to President Monson's talk in Priesthood session today. Both he and President Sabey are good at making us want to get married. I don't want to think about it too much but at the same time the Sealing ordinance is what all my work now is driving at. Everything I do should be in anticipation of the highest ordinance we take part in during this mortal life. Then everything we do after should be working to keep those sacred covenants we make. But enough of that! I still have five months where I don't have to think about it! ;)

I love you all! I'll call on Sunday later in the evening I think. I'll call and let you know. Can't wait to talk to you for the last time before I come home!

Love Elder Harris
AKA. Just Keep Swimming