December 27, 2015

Navua - Week 8

Siga ni Sucu!

Bula family!

It was so good to see everyone on Christmas!  Everyone looked happy and healthy and great!  It was definitely weird not being home this Christmas, but we had a pretty good one down here in Fiji.  We got up on Christmas morning and opened the packages that we had by our little Christmas tree, and then we hopped on a bus and headed to Suva where we had a big missionary activity.  It was mostly just fun little games and a white elephant gift 

At the Diloi's house
And then we went to a member family named the Dilois where we had a lovo (earth oven meal) which was so good!  I really want to learn how to do that so I can cook some of it back home.  After that we just went around visiting a few families sharing Christmas messages....and everyone fed us!  By the time I got home I was so full I thought I would never want to eat again.  It was definitely a Christmas I'll never forget.  

Fijians have a really simple Christmas--usually little or no presents and just spend the day at home with their family.  It's good because they focus more on our Lord and Savior and on His birth, and I really enjoyed the simplicity of it all!

Other than that this week went fairly well as far as the work is concerned.  Probably the biggest news is that we now have a big family of nine that want to be baptized!  The Waqabaca family was being taught in Lami by the sisters until about a week ago when they unexpectedly had to move down to Navua.  Their grandfather was baptized about 6 months ago, and now they all want to follow his footsteps!  They were all very active 7th Day Adventists before, but the message of the Restoration has truly touched their hearts and brought a big change in their lives.  I'm way excited for them!  We are working for them to be baptized in January and it is looking really good!

A lot of other investigators are doing really well!  A girl named Api who I thought was a member because she always comes to church.  Eugene and his wife Ruci are really enjoying our visits and have a great testimony of the Restoration already.  And a new investigator named Samu, who we weren't sure if he was taking lessons for him or his member girlfriend, but he showed up to church and had a great time!  The problem we're finding is the holidays.  Combine normal Fiji time with Christmas/New Years and you get a very very laid back and noncommittal village of Fijians! 

Can't believe my year mark is on Thursday.....hope you all have fun celebrating!  I heard they're going to drop a ball at midnight in New York City just for me! 


Elder Harris

Skyping with Mom!

Very happy with my Mac and Cheese!

December 20, 2015

Navua - Week 7


Bula family!
It has been one crazy week with transfers.  I'm still here in Navua, but almost all the elders in my district were transferred except for me and one other elder!  To add to the craziness, President asked me to be district leader.  But the best part is that I'm training a brand new missionary!  And he's Italian!

We got our transfer calls last Tuesday after district meeting, and everyone got a pretty big shock.  My companion, Elder Levasa, and another elder both were transferred to Suva, my district leader went to Nadi, and one other elder got sent to my first area of Somosomo, Taveuni!  It was pretty sad to say goodbye to all of them because we all got close here, and they were super fun, but I'm sure they'll do great in their new areas.

After they left, our zone leaders called and told me that they had my new companion (at this point I didn't know who it would be), and they said that his name was Elder Giacalone (pronounced like Jackalonay) and he was straight from Italy!  To those who know how much I love Italy and especially Italian food, you can imagine how excited I was at this prospect.  But, the next day, they came down and dropped him off.  Once he got out of the car I introduced myself, and he did as well, and I could tell that he hardly spoke English at all.  The zone leaders left, and we took him inside trying to communicate with him and get to know him in his broken English; I could tell this was going to be a huge challenge teaching him Fijian AND English.  We were talking like that for about 10 minutes when all of a sudden in a perfect American accent he said, "Yeah I can't keep this up; I'm from Tennessee."   The zone leaders totally tricked me!!!

No, my companion is actually from Knoxville, Tennessee, but his family is from the island of Sicily in Italy.  He is the first white companion I have had, but since he is from Sicily I am still considering him an islander.  He's the man!  I've only had him for a few days, but I can tell that he is super prepared for his mission.  Once he learns Fijian, he's gonna be unstoppable.  But despite being born in America, he says he can make some mean pasta, so I am beyond excited about that.

Our area is doing okay, but we didn't have much time again this week because of transfers.  And a lot of our investigators are leaving for Christmas week, so we are just doing our best to keep the ones we still have going.  We did have two investigators come to church though, and there are a lot of new ones that look very prepared to receive our message!  Our work with the less-actives of the ward is going really well too.  We didn't get the car; I don't really know the reasons why but we were told to wait until sometime in January.  I know that as we do our best the Lord will bless us to keep up with all we have to do!

Yesterday I was able to do a baptismal interview for one of the sisters' investigators.  It was a way cool experience to see someone who has been preparing for baptism, ask her the interview questions, and be able to represent the Lord in telling her that she was ready to be baptized according to His requirements!  The Spirit is always so strong in those moments!

I'm super excited for these new opportunities to serve those around me.  I really feel Heavenly Father's love and His Spirit, and I know that he sent me to Fiji for a reason.  This Christmas, I'm trying to think more of His love and His greatest gift which was Jesus Christ.  I'm so grateful to be a missionary and be able to tell people about this great gift.

Merry Christmas!
Loloma levu!

Elder Harris

December 13, 2015

Navua - Week 6

Voleka mai na siga ni sucu

Bula vinaka everyone!

It has been a really great week down in Fiji!  Christmas is coming, and I am way excited to spend it in Fiji!  I'm not really sure how it will be, but I'm glad to be able to spend it with these great people.

Other good news is that we were able to get a lot more work in than last week, and the results were awesome!  We found a bunch of new investigators and were finally able to get a few of our investigators to come to church with us.  

Probably the best experience I had was last Thursday.  We were walking from one area to another trying to find a less-active family, and we met a man walking on the road, who then invited us to come and share something with him!  He then led us on this hardly visible path through a field full of taller-than-me grass and tons of coconut trees, and we finally arrived at his little house.  We started talking with him and found out that about 10 years ago he had taken lessons from the missionaries, and he knows a lot about the Restoration already.  He was never baptized however, because he went to prison for 6 years.  But now he is back and seems ready to receive the gospel!  We are really excited about him and grateful that the Lord put him and us on the right path at the right time.

We're still working with a few of our other investigators that we had before, but the few that were most promising left to their villages for Christmas holiday.  Hopefully we can pick them back up when they return.  I guess it's a Fijian custom to return to your native village if possible around this time of year because it is similar to the summer break back in America
We also had our ward Christmas party on Saturday, which was a blast!  We had so many people show up, and had a big feast!  Afterwards there was a talent show, and we all sang a lot of carols.  My whole district came down to the party, and for our talent we did the haka!  It was my first time doing the haka, so I was way nervous.  But I tried to look as scary as I could and follow what everyone else was doing!  But the party was really fun and everyone there had a great time!

Transfers are this week and Elder Levasa is finished with his training.  He is a way good missionary and I have had a ton of fun serving with him!  Hopefully he will stick around this transfer so we can continue the good work we are getting and he can get to ride in the car (everyone cross your fingers that we'll actually get it this week!).  But we'll see what happens when we get transfer calls tomorrow.

I hope everyone has a great week!  Enjoy the Christmas spirit!

Elder Harris

This is from Lami, behind me is a great view of Suva

For service we cut a lot of weeds!

One of the talents at our Ward Christmas Party

December 6, 2015

Navua - Week 5

Kerea mada e dua na motoka

Bula everyone!
This week was pretty interesting.  Not sure how to explain it....
1. Last Wednesday, we had a mission meeting with Elder S. Gifford Nielsen of the Seventy.  For those of you who don't know this is the Gifford Nielsen that was quarterback at BYU way back when!  I was a bit star-struck, but then after he started talking I forgot all about football and was amazed at how good of a speaker he is and his knowledge of the gospel!  It was such a good meeting and I have way too many things I learned to write here.  One thing he talked about that hit me was to ''not be restrained'', which came out of Ether 12 when Ether was preaching the gospel.  It really hit me that I need to be that kind of missionary!  Nothing should be able to restrain me from sharing the gospel every second I have out here!  He talked about a lot of other stuff too, and everyone really enjoyed listening to him and his wife.

2. We're getting a car!  In some miraculous way, President decided to give us a car out in Navua.  This is going to be huge for the area, since we walk so much trying to get to appointments.  We found out last week and we raced to the Fijian version of the DMV as fast as we could.

3. Everyone in Fiji decided they want to get their driver's license this week.  So I have to wait a week and a half before I can go and do my driving test.  So I guess we'll be walking a little bit longer.

4. The work in our area is pretty slow right now.  Because of everything mentioned above, we only had 2 days to proselyte.  It's been kind of frustrating to be honest, but luckily this week should have no interruptions.  We're still working really hard with all of our investigators and less-active members!

5. I can't think of anything else, so I guess that sums up my week!  This gospel is so great, and I'm so grateful to be a missionary and have all these great experiences!  I hope everyone remembers to hold on to that iron rod as tight as possible!

Elder Harris

Walking back from service last week

I found my old companion Elder Pomate!

Mission Tour with Elder Nielsen

November 29, 2015

Navua - Week 4


It has been a great week!  It has been pretty busy and lots of fun times, hard times, spiritual times, and mostly just walking times--all part of the missionary life which I have grown to love!

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!  It was my first one outside of America, but thankfully I got to celebrate!  We were invited to dinner by the Farpapau family on Thursday, and we got to go and eat a Thanksgiving dinner with them.  They are from an island called Rotuma (little island way north of Fiji that speaks a different language), and they also invited all their Rotuman family from all over Suva.  Dinner was great!  No turkey, but I still ate a ton.  Most people in Fiji don't celebrate Thanksgiving, but I'm grateful that I was able to celebrate it with this great family! 

The work in Navua is moving along well!  We are still working with Raijeli's parents and Makaia and everyone else, but I'm starting to realize how much of an impact the holidays are going to have on us.  This is Fiji's summer break for school, plus Christmas is coming up, so most people are going to go back to their home village for the holidays.  We've already encountered a lot of this even though December hasn't started yet, but we'll keep on keeping on I guess and just try to work our hardest with what we have.

We went and did some service for a less-active member in our ward this week.  His name is Brother Dunn, and he is half Fijian and half Indian, but he tells everyone that he is Irish because his great-great-grandfather was Irish (that's how he got the name Dunn).  He and his two boys are some of the funniest people I have met, and all the missionaries love them!  For service we were supposed to help him fix his fishing net so he could catch some fish, but then Fiji Time took over and he just told us stories for 2 hours.  We were able to chop some firewood for him at the end though so it was good to go and serve him.  He has been coming back to church and now has a calling so we are really excited about that!

Anyways, all is well down here!  I have thought a lot about gratitude this past week and have come to realize how blessed I am.  I can't even begin to count all the blessings that I have received in my life.  I have also realized that I need to be content with what I have and not complain or anticipate happiness coming to me in a future time.  I just need to be happy with what I have right now!  God is good and will always bless us more than we can imagine!

Happy Thanksgiving and everyone have a great week.


Elder Harris

November 22, 2015

Navua - Week 3

Kana! na ka o sa lakova mai!

Bula vinaka!

Man this has been a great week down here in Fiji!  I can't believe how fast the time flies.....and how fast the internet is here compared to Tuvalu!  For P-day we come and email in Lami, where the rest of our district is, and we spend the night here so we can go to district meeting tomorrow.  We take a 40 minute bus ride every week to get here which is a nice drive through the Fijian hills!  I love how green it is here!

We did a lot of walking this week.  Navua is just a bunch of dirt roads and fields, so we get pretty dusty from all the passing cars, but it is all part of the fun!  We have been seeing the work in the area pick up slowly but steadily, and I am super excited about the people we are working with.  There are a lot of less-actives here, so we spend a lot of time trying to see them, but at the same time we are slowly building our investigator pool!  First of all we have a guy named Makaia, who is 15 years old and both of his parents are members.  He wants to be baptized too!  The only problem is that he lives very far away in a town called Pacific Harbor.  Pacific Harbor is pretty much a resort town with a bunch of white people and a lot of big houses!  But it is a good 40 min drive from Navua, so we are trying to figure out a way to get all of our members and investigators to church.

Also we finally got to meet with the family of Raijeli, who got baptized last week.  They live right next to the church and really like the church and all its programs!  They have even been attending a self-reliance class every week at the church, so we are excited to get working with them!  They seem very humble and ready to accept the gospel!

We had an interesting experience meeting with an Indian family the other day.  They are another family who really love the programs of the church--one of their relatives went on a mission and went to BYU Hawaii so they want that for their 4 daughters!  So we went over and taught them a bit and talked about baptism.  They really want their daughter to be baptized (only one is over age 8), but the parents said they can't be baptized.  I'm not sure exactly what the reason is, but it sounded like because of their Hindi religion, they are forbidden from being baptized.  It's kind of hard to understand, but we will continue to visit them and try to help them and their daughters.

We had zone conference as well this week!  It was great to hear from President and Sister Layton.  We talked a lot about becoming a living epistle of Jesus Christ!  It made me realize how much my appearance, attitude, and behaviour can influence those around me.  I want to be a more enthusiastic missionary!  I am working on that and being an epistle of Christ at all times.  Sometimes it is hard to do the same thing day after day for two years, but we should be energetic because we have the most important message the world could hear: the gospel of Jesus Christ!  One quote sums it up pretty well: "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes."
Have a great week everyone!

Loloma yani,

Elder Harris

Baptism of Raijeli and Cannan
Suva North Zone November 2015

Cool looking place in Pacific Harbor

November 15, 2015

Navua - Week 2


Isa matavuvale.......Bula vinaka!

Well it has been another great week down here in Fiji.  I can't believe how fast the time flies while serving as a missionary!  This week has been interesting and busy with adjusting to my new area, but it has been really fun!

First of all we had two baptisms this week!  Elder Levasa and his former companion have been working with these two girls for awhile.  First off there is Cannan whose parents are a bit less-active so she didn't get baptized when she was 8, and then another little girl named Raijeli who lives with a member family but her parents are not members.  It was really good and Elder Levasa was able to perform the baptism for both of them!  He was nervous because it was his first one, but he did a great job.  We had a great turnout at the baptism, and a ton of less-active members and nonmembers came.  Also Raijeli's father came and really liked the baptism so we're going to try and follow up on that! 

A lot of this week was spent on exchanges in our area.  The zone leaders came down on Tuesday and then our district leader came down on Friday.  It was good to go with my leaders and get their advice on how to help my area.

So Navua is an interesting place to serve!  It is the second largest area in the mission covering a lot of the southern part of Viti Levu, but we have no car and our bikes don't   work:(  Also the actual Navua town is just a bunch of spread out houses and farmland.  It kind of reminds me of the area on the other side of the freeway back in Beaver (minus the coconut trees!).  Most of our time is spent walking from one house to another, and if we need to go out to another town we have to bus.  So it is going to be a fun challenge planning the days so we can see as many people as possible!

It has been interesting getting used to the Indian culture.  For those of you who don't know, 1/3 of the population in Fiji is originally from India.  They are definitely an interesting people and culture.  I haven't served very much around them until now, but Navua has a very large Indian population.  This week they had their holiday called Diwhali (I think that's how you spell it) which is some Hindu holiday.  It was pretty fun!  We got a bunch of Indian homemade sweets from everyone and there were tons of fireworks from the time the sun set until midnight! 

I am thankful for this opportunity to serve in Navua!  I love the members already after seeing them at the baptism and in church.  It's going to be a blast serving in this area!
Hope you all have a great week.


Elder Harris

November 8, 2015

Navua - Week 1

Isa lei I'm back in Fiji.

Leaving Tuvalu was not very fun.  I don't like saying goodbye!  But we left on Thursday after saying goodbye to everyone at the airport (I got a lot of necklaces!).  I was super happy because we took off and then circled around the island, so I got to see all of Tuvalu from the air before I left!  I was pretty somber the whole time, and I think I still am a little bit.  Luckily I'm going back to Fiji which I love, but I'll always miss Tuvalu!!

Now to my new area.  So I'm serving in a place called Navua, which is on the south coast of the big island Viti Levu.  I am in the same zone as the temple, mission office, assistants, etc., but my area is the farthest away in the zone, about a 40 minute bus ride from the nearest missionaries.  It's on main road from Nadi to Suva and there are a lot of resorts around (and nice beaches!).  But where we live it is mostly just a really huge flat area that is all farmland, so everyone is very spread out and far apart!  Our ward is an English ward mainly because there are a ton of Indians in the area, but hopefully I can still speak Fijian with the Fijians in the area.

My companion is Elder Levasa who was living in Australia but is originally from New Zealand.  He is Samoan and speaks the language so hopefully I can learn a little Samoan with him because Tuvaluan is pretty close!  He's a super cool guy and really humble so I'm happy to be working with him.  He got to the mission just 6 weeks ago so I am finishing his training for the next 6 weeks.  It'll be a good time!  We're supposed to be having a baptism this week so the area seems to be good:)

I've only spent one day in my area so far because we had stake conference yesterday at the LDS high school here in Fiji.  It was awesome and the theme it seemed was the temple!  The temple open house will begin in January, so they all spoke on the importance of the temple and inviting everyone to the open house!  The new temple president President Yee and also President Layton spoke and it was a very spiritual meeting! 

So yeah.  My district is super cool.  My new district leader Elder Danielson is this massive Samoan who could snap me in half if he wanted to.  He was on the under 20s team for Australia before he came out which probably means he'll go play proffesionally rugby after the mission.  Samoans are really funny so we are always laughing and joking around!  I'm glad I've been around the island people so I can fit in and fit in with my district!

Anyway, I'm excited to work in Navua and see how it goes this week.  I hope everyone has a great week!

Loloma yani,

Elder Harris

Just before we left on the plane to Fiji

This is in my new area.  This member family was making brooms by the beach.

There's a lot of cows in my area.  Smells like home.

November 1, 2015

Tuvalu - Week 24

The Last Talofa...

Talofa everyone!  I can't believe it but my time on Tuvalu is coming to an end.  Elder Paki and I go back to Fiji on the plane on Thursday.

I really don't want to leave this place that I have come to love so much.  It's going to be really hard.  I'm not sure where I'm going yet in Fiji, but I'm excited to find out (maybe tomorrow).

Definitely the highlight of the week was Logotau's baptism on Saturday.  I've grown so close to him and his family so it was really special for me to baptize him!  He has changed so much from the time I first met him, and it has been a real learning experience for me to see how one person can change and go through conversion!  He gave his testimony afterwards, which to me is always the best part of baptisms, and as usual it was very powerful!  I can tell that he is now a disciple of Jesus Christ and ready to serve him to the end!  I am so thankful to have been a part of it.

Sunday was special.  It was fast and testimony meeting so Brother Niko started off with his testimony and then thanked me for my service, and it almost made me cry!  Our branch president did as well and I had to go bear my testimony afterwards and tell everyone how much I was grateful for them.  Another girl in our branch is moving to New Zealand on Tuesday, so everyone was talking about us two haha it was way embarrassing.  And then after sacrament meeting they made me and the girl stand up in front of the congregation and everyone else stood up and sang "God Be With You Til We Meet Again."   It was really nice of them and I was really grateful for that!  I'm gonna miss everyone here a ton!

It's been a long time here in Tuvalu, and most of the time here was pretty hard to be honest.  But I'm grateful for the chance I had to serve here.  I know that it was part of Heavenly Father's plan for me to be here.  I have grown so much and come to love the gospel more than I can explain.  I am sad to leave but I know that He has another place for me to go, so I feel comforted knowing I'm in His hands!

Alofa atu!

Elder Harris

Logotau's Baptism

Logotau and Elder Harris

At the top of the Island
This is Lasalo (Tuvaluan for Lazarus).  
He loves missionaries and 
always comes to talk to us!

This fruit is called pandanus.  In Tuvaluan it is fala.  Kind of tastes like a weird corn thing...

October 25, 2015

Tuvalu - Week 23

Au e pili o tagi....

Tapa.  Toe tasi mo te aafa te vaiaso.  Se gali.  Man I only have a week and a half left on this island.  It's going to be hard to leave.

Man I love Tuvalu.  I am really beginning to understand the culture as I am learning to speak the language, and it's a pretty neat experience.  The people are the best!  They have so much faith and hope in life.  Even though they live very simply, they are happy!  I admire their outlook on life and everything I've learned from them.  I feel really blessed to have served here. 

I'm really excited for this Saturday when we will have Logotau's baptism!  He passed his interview this week and is super ready to be baptized.  He's shared his testimony plenty of times about how the gospel has already blessed his life, blessed him to be happier, to control his anger, and to have more purpose in his life.  He has developed great relationships with the branch members and refers to them as his family!  I've seen a big change in him and feel grateful to have been able to help him accept the gospel.  It'll be a great finish to see him baptized before I leave.

On Friday last week President Niko saw us on the road and stopped to ask Elder Paki and I to talk on Sunday.  It was really good to be able to give a talk!  Elder Paki gave a bomb talk on Christlike attributes and then I talked afterwards about the Atonement of Christ and how it not only helps us overcome death and sin, but all pain that we suffer.  

Elder Paki has got way good Tuvaluan!  He's way farther along than I was at that point, so I'm not worried at all for when I leave.  It's funny though because Elder Paki has been annoyed with all the little kids who see us and yell "Palangi!"  So he started arguing with one kid telling them that we're not Palangi.  It was really funny to hear him argue in Tuvaluan with a 5 year old!  Good times.

Anyways I am doing good and I know that the gospel is true.  I know that there are always the hard times, but the gospel helps us get through them and yes even become stronger through them.  I know that if we rely on our Savior through thick and thin that we can have peace with whatever happens.  As my favorite hymn puts it, "I believe in Christ, so come what may."

Alofa atu,

Elder Harris

October 18, 2015

Tuvalu - Week 22


Taaaaaalofa!  Hey everybody its me again coming from Tuvalu!  It's been a really good week with a lot of great stuff happening here!
This kid is half Tuvaluan/half Fijian and 
always wants to fusu (fight) with me:)

I've been trying to soak it all in and enjoy the Tuvaluan life seeing as I only have (trying not to cry) less than 3 weeks left!  I'm in denial that its actually coming to an end; time flies by way too fast!  But I am giving it all I've got for these last two and a half weeks.

Logotau is doing way good!  He is ready to be baptized right now, but we have to wait two weeks because of scheduling conflicts.  But he is pretty much already a member!  He is participating in Church really well and making great friendships with the members! 

Apparently there was a recent convert who was baptized in Fiji, but was too shy to come to church here, and Logotau found out and got him to come to Church!  He's planning on going on a mission after a year, and he is definitely seeing the joys the gospel is bringing to his life.  It's awesome!  It's really brought him closer to his brother and sister who are already members, and Elder Paki and I have grown way close to that family!

We had another cool experience this week in which we were able to bring a less-active man back to church.  So back when Elder Pomate was here with me, we felt impressed to knock at a random house, and when we knocked we found out the man was a member!  His name is Brother Kalo and he is a rather old guy who was a member almost 30 years ago in Kirabus.  But when he moved to Tuvalu around 15 years ago he stopped going to church. He has always had a strong testimony for the restored gospel, but coming back to
church seemed to be something really scary for him after all these years.  

Elder Paki and I have been trying to visit him every week since then, but haven't got him to come to church.  This week on Wednesday, we tried again, and he came to us expressing a lot of anxiety and burden on his soul.  We were able to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with him and show him how faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end can help him overcome that burden, and the Spirit definitely touched him.  

It was one of the happiest moments on my mission when I saw him show up to sacrament meeting!  He had a great time at church, and afterwards I could see how happy he was to be back.  It really showed me that we should never give up on bringing the lost sheep back to the fold, and I was glad that the Spirit touched him enough to come back!

Elder Paki found a hermit
crab and wanted to pick it up
On Saturday night we got to go to a little celebration put on by the main bank in Tuvalu celebrating their 35th Anniversary.  2 out of the 3 people in our branch presidency and a few other people in our branch work for the bank, so they really wanted us to come.  It was really fun!  They had a huge feast and a lot of cultural dancing and such! (I promise we didn't do any dancing!)  It was nice to enjoy the culture and to stuff myself with all the food!

I hope everything is going well at home and everyone has a great week!

Alofa atu,

Elder Herish

I found this photo in one of our 
recent convert's Book of Morrmon.....

October 11, 2015

Tuvalu - Week 21


Talofa everyone!  It is great to be able to email today even though the internet is soooo slow.  But it has been a great week here on Tuvalu!  We finally got Soo baptized and confirmed!!!  It was such a good baptism, and I was so happy for her.  It was a really satisfying baptism because I have been working with her ever since I got here to Tuvalu, about 4 1/2 months.  It has been a real struggle for her to get to it, quitting smoking and such, but the smile on her face when she came out of the water was priceless!  She looked so happy!

Afterwards in her testimony the Spirit was so strong and everyone was just so happy!  It was a great day.

To add to the excitement, we have some really good investigators coming along!  Logotau is probably one of the best investigators I have had.  He is really excited about the gospel and loves having us over for lessons!  He is a pretty funny guy.  He is really into country music (really strange for a Tuvaluan) and he has almost every Brad Paisley song ever sung!  He also thinks cowboys are really cool, so I try to pretend that I'm a real cowboy from America.  Ahh man Tuvaluans are so quirky haha!  Our other investigator, Ali, is doing really good and showing his desire to be baptized.  He is one of those guys who everyone loves and knows everybody, so it is really fun to walk with him down the road, and suddenly we are way popular!

We also seem to be popular with all the drunk people here on Tuvalu.  Tuvaluans are really shy, but when they are drunk they forget all about that and come and talk with us.  And for some reason, they all start speaking English when they're drunk!  We have had a lot of funny experiences this week to say the least.

My companion Elder Paki is doing really good!  He's almost got Tuvaluan down and the members love him!  One of his passions is eating sweets, and he knows how to make them himself!  This week he has been making cakes in our microwave and lots of other random sweets.  It's pretty fun, especially when I get to eat them too.

It's hard to believe that I only have a few weeks left here.  I'm not sure that I'll get on that plane willingly when the time comes.

I love the gospel and I love Tuvalu!  Too much happiness!

Tapa too uke a mea ke tusi.  Kaati la tena fua.  Manuia te vaiaso!

Alofa atu,

Elder Harris

Papatisoga a Soo! Elder Harris, Brother Nikko, Soo, Elder Paki

October 4, 2015

Tuvalu - Week 20

To vave te taimi

Taaaaaalofa!  Man I love Tuvalu and everybody here!  This week has been so good and lots of great things are happening here.  First of all, we have Soo's baptism scheduled for this week!  I know I sound like the boy who cried wolf, but I think this week it is actually going to happen!  She is doing really good and super excited, so I hope everything will work out.  It has been a roller-coaster working with her these past 4 months, so this will be really meaningful to see her be baptized.

All of our other investigators are doing well also.  Logotau is doing great and progressing really well towards baptism at the end of the month.  He says he can feel the Spirit as he goes to church and meets with us, which is great!  He is a really funny guy and loves to make fun of Utah people, simply because that's where I'm from!  Haha Tuvaluans are the best.  

Another investigator Ali, has been an investigator for a long long time, but he just gets too distracted with the business of life to come to church and prepare for baptism, so I tried a curveball approach....  Every lesson we get him to pray at the end even though he doesn't like it, so I told him if he comes to church he doesn't have to pray in the lessons!  And it worked!  He's been two weeks in a row now and even shows up early!  Haha sometimes you just have to use a little "island flavor" ;)

In other news my hair is getting kinda hasn't been cut since August!  The problem is there are no barbers here in Tuvalu, and the person who used to cut our hair went to school in Taiwan....  We have been trying to find one of the members to cut our hair but it's hard because  they're all busy.   The other day I looked out the window and saw one of our neighbors holding up a broken off rear view mirror to his face and cutting his own hair with scissors!  I may have to resort to that in a week or two.....

Also Tuvalu had their 37th Independence celebration this week!  There was a big festival going on on Thursday with dancing and lots of food, and the President of Kiribati came and spoke to Tuvalu!  Unfortunately we were sick that day, but we saw a few of the events on other days.  It was really cool!

That's all I can think to write this week.  I hope you all enjoyed conference!  Not sure when I'll be able to watch it, but I know that we do have a living prophet and apostles on the earth!

Alofa atu

Elder Harris
This is a pic of me in a hat made out of coconut tree leaves made by our recent convert Teruka.

Elder Paki

This is Teruka.  He is one super kid who loves to play basketball every chance he gets.  He was baptized right before I came to Tuvalu and hasn't missed a Sunday since he's been baptized!

September 27, 2015

Tuvalu - Week 19

Tai gali.

Talofa everyone!  It has been another great week and now my countdown has begun for my last transfer here on Tuvalu.  

Lots of great things happened this week, but unfortunately S____ wasn't baptized.  It was a bit disappointing, but we are planning to have it in another two weeks, so hopefully it will happen!  We were excited for it all the way up until Friday afternoon, when Brother Niko came by and told us that he unexpectedly had to work on Saturday, and his boss wouldn't let him take it off.  Since she is his sister-in-law and he was the one that was to baptize her, we decided that we better postpone it.  Then we found out that next week is Independence Day for Tuvalu, so we are pushing it back two weeks.  We thought it would be really hard for her when we told her, but she seemed to be okay.  Maybe it will turn out to be a blessing in disguise so we can prepare her really well.

Other than that, this week has been fantastic!  I taught more lessons than any other week in my whole mission!  We were really busy and working hard and it seems like our work was paying off because we had 3 investigators come to church and they are all progressing really well!  

L____, the one who I challenged in basketball, is doing really well and wants to be baptized!  He has been really enjoying our lessons and church, and we are developing a good friendship with him.  Tuvaluans are really funny because all you have to do to make friends with them is to tease them!  So it's really fun to mix in with the culture!

One thing that has really impacted me on Tuvalu is the importance of the Book of Mormon.  It is sooo important in missionary work, and unfortunately we don't have a Book of Mormon in Tuvaluan yet, so it makes things very difficult.  It is the key to gaining a testimony of the truthfulness of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and building your life on that gospel through diligent scripture study.  We try to use the English one here, but most people don't really understand it at all.  I know that someday when Tuvalu gets a Book of Mormon in their own language the work here is going to explode!!  So I hope and pray that one day that time will come, but for now we just keep doing the best we can.

It is getting hotter here.  With the work and with the weather.  It drains all my energy, but I love those nights when I know I gave all I have!  It's the best feeling there is!

Manuia te vaiaso!

Alofa atu,

Elder Harris

A bunch of crabs someone caught

They have been pumping in sand from this big ship drilling into the seabed to cover these areas that are low and flood during the rain.  This one they pumped in a ton and everyone calls it the Tuvalu mountain!

Another Sunset

September 20, 2015

Tuvalu - Week 18

E too te vaiua

Talofa everyone!  It has been another great week here in Tuvalu, and it seems like the time is running way too fast.  This week is transfer week, so I only have 6 more weeks until I leave!  I really don't want to leave because I love it here so much, so I'm not very happy with the time moving by so fast.  But hopefully I can make these next 6 weeks worth it!

One thing about our house here in Tuvalu.  We seem to have a flock of chickens running around all the time, and they're really annoying.  The roosters really like to cockadoodledoo and it's driving me insane!  Everyone says they're the Tuvaluan alarm clock but the one by our house goes off from 5 in the morning until 3 in the afternoon!  When Elder Pomate was here we used a green laser we bought at the chinese shop to chase them away, but now he is in Fiji and Tuvalu is out of green lasers.  I'm still working on a solution that doesn't include me running outside and chasing them away!

This week the work has been pretty good.  The highlight of our week was the baptismal interview with S______.....she passed!  I'm so excited, and she should be baptized on Saturday if everything works out!  I had the opportunity to do her interview (because we have no district leader) and it was amazing.  She has been waiting a long time for this and is so excited to be baptized!

Last Monday, as usual, we went and played basketball with our recent convert, Teruka, and his friends.  Well, Teruka's brother came and played too, and we started to have some friendly trash talk as we played against each other (it's the best way to make friends here in Tuvalu:))   Anyway, I challenged him and said if I won he had to come to church on Sunday.  And with a incredible combination of my church ball skills and the fact that Tuvaluans are horrible at basketball, I won and he showed up to church on Sunday!!  The best part is he liked it and wants to start taking lessons!  So I guess church ball is an inspired program:)

The faith of Tuvaluans is awesome!  They all have been praying for rain because of the drought and their prayers were answered: it rained almost all day on Saturday and Sunday and the drought is over!  I know that prayers are answered when we believe!

Have a great week!

Alofa atu,

Elder Harris