July 26, 2015

Tuvalu - Week 10

Tapa.  E moko kae e too sale te vaiuaa.  Au ko siu faeloa.  So it has been cloudy, rainy, and windy all week!  Luckily we have umbrellas now though, so it is actually pretty nice.  Sometimes I complain about it, but then I realize it isn't hot so I realize I shouldn't complain.  Tuvaluan weather is crazy!

This week was really good!  The spiritual high that has been buzzing around for a good two weeks is starting to drop a bit, but Elder Pomate and I are working hard to keep it up.  Church wasn't quite as full because hardly any Tuvaluans own cars and it was raining:(  But it was still good.  

One time we were walking down at the bottom end of the island (Tuvaluans call it "ki tua" which means towards the back) and we were a bit discouraged because all the people we planned to see didn't show up.  So we decided to go talk to a random house.  An old guy was there, and after a bit of talking, we found out he was a member!  He is Kirabus so he isn't on our records but we were able to meet him and find out he wants to come back to church!  It is going to take a bit of coaching since he is pretty shy, but the miracle is that we found him!  God works in mysterious ways.

Also this week we had Fiani's baptism!  It was a great thing to see since she has been coming to church for a long time.  But we were finally able to get the lessons finished and help her enter the waters of baptism.  I could tell that it was something that meant a lot to her and her family.  Fiani is the first member of her family to be baptized; the rest of her family really likes the church, but they say that they're not quite ready to join.  But they were there for the baptism and to see Fiani's great example.  She got really emotional during her testimony afterwards.  These are the kind of experiences missionaries live for!

Another investigator we are working with is a 30 year old lady named S___.  She has been taught by the missionaries for years, but she just can't seem to give up smoking.  But right now she has committed to give up smoking so that she can be baptized.  It is a great act of faith for her after many attempts that have failed, so please keep her in your prayers.

One thing I have been thinking about this week is sacrifice.  The gospel is all about sacrifice.  Sometimes we have to show the Lord that we really love Him by giving up things of the world that aren't as important.  Most of us have given up many things for the Lord, but consistently throughout the scriptures and life the Lord asks us to give more, sometimes our best.  He asked the rich young ruler to give up all of his riches.  He asked His apostles to leave their nets and their previous lives.  He even asked Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac.  All he wants is the willing heart that will give up everything for Him.  As always, the Savior is the perfect example who gave everything He had for us to have a chance.  As a missionary, I am trying to be a disciple of Christ who would give up everything he is asked of.

The gospel is true!


Elder Harris

Fiani's Baptism
Typical companionship study view


July 19, 2015

Tuvalu - Week 9

Ko gali te alofa!  

Man another great week here on Tuvalu!  It was actually considered a cold week here in Tuvalu this week.  It was a bit cloudy, rainy, and I actually used a blanket when I was sleeping!  All the Tuvaluans were wimping out and staying home but I was still sweating....  It was nice though.

We had a baptism on Saturday!  I had the privilege of baptizing Danny and then Elder Pomate confirmed him on Sunday!  It was an awesome day, especially for Danny because of the decision that he made.  He is hands down the most prepared investigator I have ever taught.  He had no problem believing what we taught or following any of our commitments the entire process!  He has changed his life around in less than 4 weeks from the time we met him, and now he is baptized.  He gave a great testimony afterwards that showed how much he treasures the gospel.  And he is even thinking about a mission!:)  I am just grateful to be a part of it.

Also, if everything goes well, we will have another baptism on Saturday for F____!  F____ is really good and always comes to church, but it is hard to find time to teach her so it has been slow, but we are working hard to get her baptized on Saturday:)

We also have a lot of other investigators that we are working with.  A lady named S____ has been meeting with missionaries for years, but now she is getting really excited, coming to church with her whole family, and trying to quit a really strong addiction to cigarettes.  She really wants to be baptized so please keep her in your prayers!!  

We also have gained a few investigators who are from Kirabus or from the Tuvaluan island of Nui which speaks Kirabus!  They don't speak English or Tuvaluan very well though so it is kind of difficult; we are either going to have to get a translator or learn Kirabus!

If you can't notice we are getting really busy:)  The Spirit is working on the people of Tuvalu after the visit of President Layton and Elder Johansson.  Random people keep showing up to church with no invitation or explanation (haha when we asked one guy why he came to church, he just pointed up).  I'm getting really excited and also stressed because I can't keep track of it all!  But the work is picking up!

Thank you for all the prayers!  I know the Lord loves Tuvalu and is preparing the way for us to work here.  The Church is true!

Alofa atu,

Elder Harris

Below are a few answers to questions Elder Harris' family asked him this week:

 Are you glad you made the decision to go on a mission?
Yes!  It is the best decision I have ever made.  I am able to bless other's lives as well as mine.  I am able to learn and grow and improve myself.  The greatest of the Lord's blessings go to his servants.  He helps missionaries do the work.  And I am the happiest I have ever been.  D&C 18.

What things did you do in High School that you are glad you did in preparation for your mission?
Seminary, reading my scriptures, studying hard.  The mission is a lot of studying and learning.  The better you work in High School the more you will be prepared.

What do you wish you would have done in High School that you didn’t to prepare for a mission?
Look out for others who are struggling and help them through being a Christlike friend.  Following the Spirit always and be a missionary while in school.  There is so much good you can do in High School.

If you could sum up the last 6+ months of your life in a few sentences what would you say?

A time to learn about myself and about the gospel.  It has been a time to grow closer to the Lord and to serve Him with everything I have.  A time to show Him how much I love Him and show others how much he loves them.

Elder Pomate, Danny, Elder Harris

Danny's Baptism

July 12, 2015

Tuvalu - Week 8

Whoa.. This week was the best week of my mission by far.  

This week we were blessed to have Elder Johanssen, an Area Seventy, and my mission president, President Layton come to Tuvalu.  They came in on Thursday and they are leaving tomorrow, but it has been a week of miracles with them here!  I don't even know where to start to be honest.

So they came in and we were able to talk to them and get to know them.  Elder Johanssen was born in Tonga and raised in New Zealand, and he now is a Seventy over Fiji, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Solomon, Kirabus, and Marshall Islands.  And man he is one cool guy!  Everyone we went and visited with him was laughing their heads off one minute, and then crying the next minute because of the Spirit.  We were able to go on many visits with him and President Layton (though never at the same time) to our investigators, members, and less-active members.  As we did so they began to change people's lives.  They shared a message and invited so many of our members to prepare to enter the temple and be sealed as a family.  They challenged fathers to be worthy to receive the Priesthood so they could bless the lives of their wives and children.  I don't have enough time to explain each story, because there are too many.  But I feel very blessed to be a witness of their ministering.  The Spirit was present so powerfully on the island of Tuvalu, and it set things into place perfectly so that President Layton and Elder Johanssen were able to bless the lives of many.  It was a week of miracles!

And then Sunday was amazing.  I have never seen the meetinghouse so full!  There almost wasn't enough room for all the people to come inside.  Even random people who I have never seen decided to get up and go to church yesterday.  The Spirit was present on Tuvalu.  President Layton talked about the importance of the Sacrament, and how we can really renew our covenants during that sacred time.  And then Elder Johanssen spoke about preaching the gospel.  He spoke about how we should not be ashamed of the gospel, we should put ourselves out there and be an example to all people.  We should join hands with our Christian brothers and sisters instead of talking behind each others backs'.  It was so good.

Today Elder Pomate and I were lucky and got interviewed by President Layton and Elder Johanssen!  They gave a lot of really helpful advice and I have found so much that I can learn from them.  They have a pretty big vision for Tuvalu, and now I do too.  This place is so special to the Lord, and His gospel is going to be spread.

Alofa atu!

Elder Harris

This is a note from Elder Harris' father.  After reading Elder Harris' email this week I called my cousin Michelle, because I remember her telling me that her husband Charles Cocker, who grew up in New Zealand, was friends with the Area Seventy assigned to Fiji.  Turns out that Elder Johanssen was that Area Seventy.  It's a small world!

So after church we had a big feast, where President Niko killed his pig for the umu.  Haha afterwards he said (in his Tuvaluan accent), "I don't eat my pig because I love my pig, but I happy that everyone eat my pig."  :)

Elder Johansson with the Teauli family

Branch Council Training

July 5, 2015

Tuvalu - Week 7

Well it's been another great week on the beautiful island of Tuvalu!  

This week has been really good, and I am really excited about the work here.  To be honest, Tuvalu is pretty hard!  The fact that there are no other missionaries here besides us gets a little discouraging at times.  Haha Elder Pomate and I haven't been out of each other's sight for the past 6 weeks now.  So it's a bit challenging.  

But the thing that makes Tuvalu the best area in the mission are the MEMBERS!  They are seriously the best in the world.  When they feed us, they go all out and pretty much try to kill us from being so full!  Last month, our dinner list was a bit lacking (we only had dinner appointments 3/4 of the days) so someone got up in testimony meeting yesterday and mentioned it.....long story short all the members grabbed our dinner calendar and now we have dinner every day in July!  It was so full that the members were signing their names for August and September to feed us!!!   Plus that, they're all just really awesome and love the gospel.  I love them with all my heart (and my stomach).

Another thing that is exciting is the fact that President Layton is coming to Tuvalu on Thursday with an Area Seventy from New Zealand.  He will be here until Tuesday and we are taking him around to see all the less-active members that we can!  Other than his scheduled meetings we are pretty much planning his stay (yeah we're pretty nervous).  But I'm excited to see them!

D____ is doing really good and is progressing well towards his baptism on the 18th of July. Also one of our investigators named F____ is set to be baptized on the 25th!   Hopefully all will go well as we try to prepare them for these important steps!  

We had a service project at the church on the 4th of July!  I was trying to spread my American pride but no one knew the national anthem so it was a bit awkward......  A few people knew America the Beautiful though!  The words 'Sea to shining sea' seemed a bit ironic at the time.

We visited on of our less-actives who has been through a lot lately.  His sister recently committed suicide and his best friend was paralyzed in an accident and moved to Fiji.  He is really struggling to just go through life.  We couldn't do much, but we could share with him the gospel and the plan that Heavenly Father has for his children.  Although he has many trials at the moment, he was able to find peace through the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I know that this gospel can get us through any trial or tribulation.

Alofa atu 

Elder Harris

We got soaked....

This is one of our member's boats.  I don't know if you can see but it's called the Liahona:)

Putting up new curtains at the chapel

BBQ with President Niko!