Thursday, May 29, 2014

Four more days gone - 5/29

Another four days have sped by.
Monday - went to the Boston temple on assignment to help out for the holiday opening.  We worked the whole morning in sealings, as patrons - so our knees were shot.  The temple is beautiful.  In the evening went on visits.
Tuesday - met with a Brazilian couple to talk about the group we're trying to get people to attend.  They weren't interested, but we're going to Framingham with them to go to some Brazilian stores, etc. next Saturday.
Wednesday - visited a less-active woman who is starting to come to our group.  She is bringing (she's a chef) a cake to the baptism on Sunday afternoon.  Went on some more visits with the sisters, but not very productive.
Thursday - on Monday we were set apart as temple ordinance workers in the Boston temple, so this morning was our assignment 7am - 1pm.  It was very enjoyable and we just went on a session during one of the two-hour blocks to watch the people doing things.  The sisters came over for a monthly planning meeting tonight and four hours later - and a bunch of Cape Verde food made and eaten - we were finished!
The weather has been absolutely wonderful - 60's and 70's with some rain here and there.  Everything is so green, so basically mom wants to scrap Brazil... :)  But in my temple setting apart the temple president said "while here in Boston you will learn specific things that will be of importance in your future service in Brazil."  I guess he could be talking about future missions, but I took it as we are being prepared for this one.  As soon as it gets hot and it's 90+ humidity we will be getting prepared! :)
Love to all.  Church is true.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Four Days and it feels like so very much has happened.

After the mission conference with Elder Holland we all stood for him to leave.  Elder and Sister Holland and the mission presidency left and the spirit was so sacred everyone just stood quietly for several minutes.  I felt the spirit and i have thought Behold a Royal Army.  It was a beautiful feeling to be among such wonderful young men and women.  Then today as we sat in our little group of fifteen and partook of the sacrament a wonderful feeling of hope for this group came over me really we already love the members so so much.  Dad and I spoke in church in Portuguese and our assignment was to pick up people.  Dads talk of course was excellent and he told everyone he married well so that was good and people said they could understand most of my talk so celebrate.  Later we visited a family where the mother is being baptized next week.  Dad gave her daughter a blessing and we had a great visit.  Last night we went to a baptism of seven Cape Verdeans awesome experience all in creole Portuguese which of course means I understood even less.  The spirit was great the dinner after was crazy good David would love their spices. Today the Brocton Branch is confirming eleven new members.  We hope to find eleven people to teach.  Our district leader calls to see if we have a pulse and I found that amusing.  We have an incredible ward mission leader. Our meeting today was one of the best missionary planning I have been to.   We have seven hundred inactive in the area and a plan was set in motion to find them.  First send letters to each one with a request to return to sender with a forwarding address.  Then each ward missionary was assigned to an auxiliary to interface with and return and report.  Every new member is to search out a family and get it to the temple within one month.  And there is crazy follow up.  Goals were reported on and new ones made.  I felt I had just been in a spiritual business meeting if that is possible.  We are working at the temple tomorrow on Memorial Day.  Then will probably be assigned to work there each Wednesday.  And it has only been four days and I feel like this is a life time so much has happened. We work each day and feel so incredibly blessed.  We feel of your love and support.  We love you all so very much.
Love to all.  The Church is true.  Mom  

Friday, May 23, 2014

Elder Holland - Awesome!

We just got back awhile ago from Elder Holland's meeting with our whole mission. It was awesome! He started by shaking each person's hand when he came in, so mom and I got to shake his hand - that alone was probably worth the trip to Boston! Elder Halstrom of the presidents of the seventy came also and spoke first. His talk was about missionary work and he said that our mission president (President Packard) was as good as they get. He said we are all involved in the "Work of Salvation", and that missionary work and temple work and family history work and humanitarian service are all intertwined - none more important than the rest, but all part of the work of salvation. Then Sister Holland spoke and said the two questions that we all have to answer are (1) Do you love God and the Savior with all your heart and might? and (2) Will you love the person that God puts in front of you?

Elder Holland then spoke and started by saying, "If I had any backbone at all, I would just say the closing prayer and we would end this meeting having been greatly fed by the Spirit - but I'm too weak, so I'm going to say some things about what we expect of you..." It was pretty funny to hear that from him. Then he went in to what really bothers him, and focused on missionaries that become inactive when they return home. He got pretty agitated and said "that I cannot abide! Don't deny the power of this mission!" He said that he thinks about his mission just about every day of his life. He said we are so worried about bringing in the sheep that he hopes we don't have to worry about the shepherds too. He said that we are God's investigators - everything that we want for our investigators God wants for you, you're just a little further along is all. He said that he was in a meeting sitting next to Hugh Nibley and Br Nibley said to him that he had discovered that the only two things that we must continue to do throughout our lives are forgive and repent.

Elder Holland then spoke about the coming forth of "Preach My Gospel" Thirteen years ago President Hinckley said at a mission president's conference, "There's something dramatically wrong with the missionary program of the church." He was speaking of memorized lessons and missionaries not knowing the gospel well enough and not having their own testimonies. It took six years to bring about PMG, and its purpose was to convert the missionary, not investigators. He then taught on a white board about going where the investigator is, using John chapters 3 and 4. He talked about the corrupt and apostate state of the jews and then said "Welcome to Boston!" It was also pretty funny. He said, "Whatever the question is, the answer is the Spirit."

In all, he spoke for about 2 hours and it was wonderful - the time passed too quickly.

Love to all. The church is definitely true.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Trip to Boston - Final

We made it! 
Got to the mission home in Boston yesterday and were met by Elder Vail, who oversees the Boston Mission Office.  He gave us the key to our apartment and introduced us to the assistants to the President.  We went to our apartment and it is awesome!  Nicer than any apartment that we've ever lived in... :)  We also got a new king bed and bedding, etc.  I'll post some pictures soon.
Today (Thu, 5-22) we were instructed by the sister missionaries in our area about what's happening.  We are trying to establish a "group" of Portuguese speakers in the area.  I didn't know that groups existed, but apparently it's a precursor to a branch...  We have about 16 people attending Sacrament meeting, which is the only meeting we hold each week - so far.  About half are children - so about 8 adults in attendance, and we don't know if the includes the 2 sister missionaries either.  The sisters love that we're here and were very excited that we brought the Suburban!  People have been shuttling members to church and now we can pick up 7 at a time.  Also, we're taking 7 missionaries to the Elder Holland mission conference tomorrow so they don't have to take public transportation as they had planned... how cool is that?!  Oh yeah, we get to hear Elder Holland tomorrow, awesome.
We bought a t-mobile hot-spot for our internet access, without a contract so we can discontinue at any time.  We had to do something because we're both speaking on Sunday - yes, in Portuguese.  So, mom is going to be using Google translate like crazy in the next couple days :)
Love to all.  The church is true,

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Trip to Boston #1

We have had an awesome drive so far, and are now in Buffalo, New York, where we will visit our good friends Walt and Dee Ann Young.  Pictures follow:

This was our district in the MTC.  It was an awesome experience.

This was our damaged Suburban after a deer attack on the fwy.  We had a little Nauvoo miracle of our own and were back on the road with minimal delays.

One of the new rides at Cedar Point.  It was a good one, but still not like Millenium Force, which I consider the best roller coaster in the world!

We also stopped in Kirtland and it was nice.

Last stop was Niagra Falls, and it was also awesome!  Tomorrow we are hoping to hit Palmyra before we get to the Boston mission home.

Love to all.  The church is true.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

MTC day two

Ok kids we are loving this experience.  Tomorrow we get to practice on investigators by teaching lessons.  So today we learned how to ask Heaven sent questions, share experiences, promise people blessings, When we ask questions like, Will you?  We activate their agency.  I thought this might be a good parenting idea.  Because it builds in habits of accountability.  We got to listen to L Tom Perry speak tonight it was great.  It is wonderful to sing with all these awesome missionaries.  Here is a great quote by Boyd K. Packer we heard today.  "You will be attended constantly by angels who will speak to you by the power of the holy ghost... The ministering of those beyond the veil over this work is constant.  The pattern of revelation is constant.The concern of them beyond the veil for us is incessant. And you will be the beneficiaries of a guidance and a watch care that will see you move out into the challenging world that you have and be able not only to accomplish that which you are called to do, but you will be able to rejoice in it notwithstanding the challenges.  And you will come with a certainty and a testimony and a spiritual growth that you have not dreamed of...  I bless you that you will be watched over,that the spirit of the Lord will be with you, that angels will attend you.  And that you will be blessed in your homes, your families, your children and their children.  And blessings that are of deep concern to you, you will find them unfolding, and if you will be patient, you will find that as you look over the Lords children,He'll be looking after yours." So kids I promise to do my best so God will be taking care of you.  I think that is perfect care.   Love to all, the church is true mom  

Monday, May 12, 2014

Day 1 at the MTC

Today was awesome.  We learned there are three types of sins - omission, comission, and no mission!  At least we're good on the third one :)
What a great day of training.  We met a lot of great senior couples, each with their unique story.  Many of them have been on two of more missions as seniors.  We got our little missionary white book and ministerial certificates, as well as our name tags.  We found that Elder Harris has to get a typhoid shot again, since the five years since he got it for Peru will now expire just before we come home!
Here's a fun highlight - when we got our ministerial certificates, they didn't let us sign them until they gave us full instructions - basically sign your full name as it appears on the certificate, even if you normally don't sign that way.  As we then finished signing, Mom practically jumps out of her chair and screams, "Oh No!" and two other ladies scream in the group.  I'm watching the whole thing and knew about the time mom did that she signed her normal name and not full "May" in the middle.  Once people had calmed down and we recognized that no one had a heart attack (which was really a concern here!), Sister Harris said what had happened, but then added, "it's OK, I can fix it" and she added the "ay" between the other names and fixed it.  The funny part was that the missionary lady who had given the instruction said, "Oh my, I thought there must be some big snake crawling by me!" :) :)
Speaking of heart attacks, one of the presenters said that heart attacks are not allowed.  He then asked, "You've probably seen the defibrulators out in the foyers?" "Another reason you can't have a heart attack - not one person here knows how to use them!"
Love to all, the church is true.
Elder and Sister Harris

Friday, May 9, 2014

MTC then Boston bound

We go into the MTC on Monday, May 12th.  We finish up on Friday, the 16th, then drive directly to Becky's in Colorado.  We will pick them up and they'll accompany us all the way to Niagra Falls, where they will then fly back home from Buffalo, NY.  Yes, we will be stopping in Cedar Point!  We should reach the Boston mission by Wednesday afternoon, on the 21st of May.
The Boston mission president and his wife called us today to tell us how excited they are to have us come.  He will make a determination of which branch to send us to by next week, while we're in the MTC studying Preach My Gospel.  They have a vacated apartment from their decreasing numbers of junior missionaries, so he said it's no problem to put us up until we get our visas.  We are all packed (well, sort of) and will head up to Provo/Orem tomorrow.  It's been kind of crazy trying to remember everything that needs doing before we leave... but it will all work out.
We got set apart as full-time missionaries tonight by our stake president here in St. George.  President Tate (South Jordan) didn't feel comfortable taking it on since we've been gone so long and he couldn't get a response in time from the area rep.  Our stake president here did a wonderful job and was particularly inspired in what he said and blessed us with, given he didn't know us at all.  It was a very uplifting experience.
Love to all,