December 25, 2016

Samabula - Week 24

Christmas 2016

It was great talking to these two missionaries on Christmas.  Elder Harris will return home on December 31, 2016.

Elder Zachary Harris skyping his family and his brother Elder Jarom Harris serving in Lima, Peru.

December 18, 2016

Samabula - Week 23

Sa luvu na vanua

Bula vinaka!

I'm on a bit late today because of the weather.  Fiji had a big low pressure spot over it and it has been raining almost constantly for the past week.  We had to go and send some food by boat to 4 elders because the road is flooded leading to their house.  I've never seen this much rain!

We've just been working hard in our area.  One of the people we've been working with, Lia, was able to receive a calling this week, and her sister-in-law, Lesi, was able to give a prayer in sacrament meeting.  It's great to see that after working with them for a few months!  

We're still working with quite a few investigators and less-active members, and things are going well.  Last week we talked about Kesa and Efereimi's baby who was very sick with a boil on his head; we found out after we went back that right after our blessing he went to sleep, and the next morning it all drained!  It was a miracle for sure, and I hope we can continue to help them develop their faith in Jesus Christ.  

Eta is doing good as well!  She was having doubts about being baptized because she said she felt like a bad person, and it was very powerful for Elder Faamoe and I at that time to testify of the Atonement, and how even if our sins are as scarlet, they can be white like snow.  She is really excited to be baptized.  We were able to help two older Indian ladies, one of whom is not Christian, come to church this week.  They felt the Spirit and were very excited to be there.  Their names are Marine and Rajishwarim.  

I love being a missionary and a representative of Jesus Christ and I am so grateful for all these wonderful opportunities I have to serve God's children here in this amazing place. Being Christmas, I feel like a great gift to give our Savior is to help our fellow man.  But as I've come to understand if we give that gift we will always receive more than we ever give.


Elder Harris

December 11, 2016

Samabula - Week 22

Rui totolo na gauna


Man these weeks are going by too fast!  The work is moving here in Fiji and I'm dreaming of a white Christmas.....white jumpsuits that is in front of a font of water:)  We are working really hard in our area to help people to come unto Christ this Christmas.  

This week we had a zone conference here in Suva, so we didn't have to do any travelling or go anywhere.  It was nice to just focus on our area and our investigators.  We have been bringing our ward mission leader, Brother Nand, out with us to teach, which has been great because he can speak in Hindi.  We've seen a lot of miracles this week.  Mostly we've been focusing on Eta, who is getting excited to be baptized.  She's the only Fijian I've met who religiously drinks coffee, so that was our biggest worry with her because she REALLY liked her coffee.  But she gave it up!  It was a great example to me of repentance and coming unto Christ to be perfected in him.  We are looking to have her baptism right before the end of the year.  Kesa and Efereimi are doing great as well, but just struggling a bit with coming to church.  They were all set to come this week because Efereimi had a day off on Sunday, but when we went to visit the day before, their little baby Meke was so sick.  He had a big boil right on his forehead, and his whole face was swollen.  We were able to give him a blessing, but they weren't able to come the next day because they took him to the hospital.  I feel peace though knowing they're on the right track.  

I mentioned the family last week where the mom had stomach cancer and the father had a stroke.  They are doing a bit better.  The dad is coming home today but he is not able to speak or do anything really.  We went to visit him in the hospital, and while we were there we had a neat experience.  Fijian hospitals are pretty crowded, so they don't have the privacy that you would in America.  So when two missionaries walk in everybody who is there visiting a sick family member is looking at you.   We were just looking at this father because he was sleeping and we didn't want to wake him up, when a random family asked us to bless their ill grandfather.  We went and blessed him, and then another family asked us to bless their father.  After that we met a couple who told us they were members who had been very less-active but wanted to come back, so we were able to contact the missionaries to go and visit them.  It was an intense 30 min period, but it made me wonder what it must have been like for Jesus every day as the multitudes swarmed and asked for him to bless them.  I am grateful to hold that priesthood and to be considered as one sent by Him.

Love you all,

Elder Harris

December 4, 2016

Samabula - Week 21

Gali ki loa


Man this week has been so great.  I talked a little bit last week about Elder Cardon; well this week was spent just listening to a General Authority teach.  It was great.  We started the Mission tour in Taveuni, and listening to all of Elder Cardon's knowledge was awesome.  He taught about the Abrahamic Covenant and also recognizing the Spirit.  I learned so much!  On Tuesday, we were just waiting for our flight, and all the other missionaries had left, so we had nothing to do.  The Cardons and the Laytons were going to go to Bouma Falls to sightsee, so they invited us to haul the water and lunch:)  It was awesome.  We then flew to Nadi and had the Mission tour there the next day, and we ended off back in Suva for a Mission Leadership Council on Thursday and our big Mission tour on Friday.  It was a great week and every meeting was full of the Spirit and revelation for me.

While in Taveuni I was able to see both of my recent converts, Senitiki and Naliva.  From talking to other missionaries throughout my mission, I had heard that Senitiki was having a rough time getting to church every week with taxi fare, but recently he has been coming back strong, so I was glad to hear that.  But of all the missionaries I've talked to, nobody knew who Naliva was.  That always made me wonder what happened to him.  But on church in Taveuni, guess who shows up?  Naliva!  He told me he had been in Suva and in the west for a long time, and just felt that he needed to move back to Taveuni that very week.  He said he wanted to come back to church, so I told the elders there to go visit him. That was a miracle to me.

Our area is doing pretty good.  Lesi is doing great after her baptism.  We are working with her sister-in-law and her brother right now to get them active as well.  It's cool because all the Navua gang came to their house for the holidays, so it's like a little reunion for me.  We are also working with a girl named Eta who is sincerely searching to find out if these things are true.  We've been visiting the Chand family for a few weeks now.  Roselyn, the mom, is dying of cancer, and is completely bedridden.  They had asked us to come and pray for her (that's really big in the Indian culture), and we had also been teaching Praveen the father and Prashant the 8 year old boy.  Praveen and Prashant even came to church last week, and we were planning to really work with them to exercise their faith in Jesus Christ.  But then we just found out that Praveen had a stroke and is unconscious in the hospital!  I feel horrible for this little boy, so we are going to continue to visit them and also their father in the hospital.  I have really felt that they need us right now at this point because of everything that is happening.  More importantly they need God.

If you haven't yet, check out the #LighttheWorld video on!


Elder Harris

November 26, 2016

Samabula - Week 20

Noqu vanua au mai butu'a!

Bula vina'a!
Well yes I know this is an early email, but I promise we have permission from President!  So I know it was a question last week where I was going to be going, so I guess I'll just let you know.
I'm in Taveuni!
That's right on Thursday I got to return to the beautiful garden island which I call my birthplace.  Except this time I didn't have to take any buses or boats; we just flew in.  We are here with President and Sister Layton and the entire Taveuni zone.  We had zone conference/Christmas party yesterday where we had an amazingly spiritual meeting in the morning about our Savior Jesus Christ.  I learned so much.  In the afternoon, President and Sister Layton thought it would be good to have a little fun, so we played some games and got to watch Finding Dory!  Pretty rad.

We will be here until Tuesday, because this is also the time for our mission tour.  Mission tour happens once a year where a General Authority comes and tours the mission.  We have Elder Cardon of the Seventy who is here in Taveuni doing a district conference and then mission tour on Monday.  We will then fly to Nadi and then back to Suva later on next week.  We had dinner with the Cardons and the Laytons yesterday which was so cool!  He asked Elder Faamoe and I, "What questions do you have for a General Authority?"  So we asked a bunch.  I think the best quote I got from him was, "There are no secrets and there are no shortcuts."

Taveuni is great; it's like a dream being back here.  I got to see Senitiki today and also talk to Tuicakau, the big-time chief whom he works for.  We have 26 missionaries on the island, so we just flooded the villages inviting everyone to district conference.  I am looking for Naliva, which is crazy because I found out he moved to Suva for a while but just came back recently to help his father who is sick.  I am hoping to meet up with him because I heard it's been a while since he's been at church.  We were also able to meet this lady named Aileen whom we met in Samabula.  She came to church with one of our recent converts, and we invited her to district conference, and she was like "Of course I'll come!"  It's gonna be a great week.
Loloma levu,
Elda Harris

Borrowed these pictures from Elder and Sister Whitehead's Blog

They are from Joti's Baptism in October

November 20, 2016

Samabula - Week 19

Sa veisau tale


It's been another fun but busy week!  We had transfers this week with a incoming group and an outgoing group.  It was lots of moving people and luggage around, but it all went well!  It's crazy because some of the outgoing missionaries were in the MTC with my group when we overlapped for two weeks.  It was crazy to see them go home.  

In other news, I'm a grandpa!  That's right, my son whom I trained, Elder Giacalone, is training!  His name is Elder Larsen and he is from Washington.  They are serving up in Vanua Levu.  I'm just happy that my seed is "multiplying and replenishing the [mission]." There were a ton of new missionaries!  15 of them!  It was crazy to look at them and see how fast time goes by.

We saw a great miracle this week in seeing Lesi get baptized!  We had it on Sunday afternoon, and everything was set until right before sacrament meeting.  She needed to be there before her baptism, and we called and called and her phone was off.  So we just went inside and were both stressing out because they just announced the baptism and she still wasn't there.  So we just starting praying that she would make it.  The sacrament started and while they were saying the prayer for the bread, we just kept praying she would make it and then we opened our eyes from the prayer and there she was walking in!  It was a great baptism and you could tell how happy she was to make that decision to follow Jesus Christ.

We are working a lot with some other investigators and less-active members.  A lot of them are doing well, but no one else showed up to church this week.  We are focusing a lot on Kesa and Efereimi.  They are doing well, and I think Efereimi is starting to accept the message we are sharing, but he still doubts a bit just because it is different than what he is used to.  But he loves the doctrine of eternal families!  So we're working a lot on that.  Those two are getting married this week (they technically are already legally married but they just want to do it in a church), so that will be good for them.  

Well, this upcoming week is going to be awesome!  We are going to......well I'll tell you next week:)

Loloma yani,

Elder Harris

November 13, 2016

Samabula - Week 18

Ni varorogo tiko mai


So this has been a pretty good week.  Incredibly, everyone in Fiji is talking about Donald Trump!  I have heard the craziest things about him from all the Fijians; they're probably true haha.

We had a baptism this week!  James, or actually Jungmin, got baptized on Sunday before church and then confirmed in sacrament meeting.  It was really good!  He seemed super happy.  His sister also got baptized whom the sisters have been teaching.  We are hoping that their mom will choose to follow their example and be baptized in the future!

We found out that Lesi had a family event down in Navua during the weekend, so we decided to push the baptism back a week.  She seems to be doing really well!  Her sister-in-law, Lia, is a member who has been deciding to come back to church recently.  It's been a lot of fun working with them.

I went on a few exchanges this week.  The first one was with Elder Carlson, my old comp back in Navua.  He is in Naitasiri, this area in the interior of Viti Levu.  We were proselyting in some pretty legit villages where missionaries are not allowed to knock on doors because of the cultural rules.  They have to work a lot with referrals.  One village we had to cross this river in a little canoe to get to.  It was pretty cool.  Then on Saturday I had an exchange with Elder Bowen from SLC.  He is pretty new in the mission, about 2 months in Fiji, so it was a lot of fun working with him and his "greenie fire".  We had a way good day proselyting here in Samabula.

Moce mada ka kalougata

Elder Harris

November 6, 2016

Samabula - Week 17

Vodo waqa yani vuka lesu mai

Bula vinaka!

It's been a great week!  We had a big meeting with the leaders in the mission where some awesome things happened, and then we took a little trip to one of the outer islands.  And all the while preparing for two baptisms next week!

So we had our Mission Leadership Council this week here in Samabula with President and Sister Layton and all the leaders around the mission.  It was so good!  We had been facing a bunch of issues around the mission, and this meeting was a game changer.  There were a few changes implemented and some great trainings by both President and Sister Layton.  Sister Layton spoke about courage, and how we sometimes have to be courageous to stand for the right.  She shared a quote by Gordon B Hinckley, "The price of leadership is loneliness. The price of adherence to conscience is loneliness. The price of adherence to principle is loneliness. I think it is inescapable."  It was way good and gave everyone a needed boost.

The next day Elder Faamoe and I got to go out to an island called Kadavu.  It is south of the main island, probably about as big as Taveuni, but really unique compared to other big islands because of how far away it is.  There are two elders out there, Elder Miller and Elder Solomon, so we went out to do an exchange with them and see how the work is going there.  We got on a boat at 9:00 p.m. in Suva and got off in Kadavu at 1:00 p.m. the next day.  It was long!  We slept on the floor with all the other Fijians haha it was an adventure.  I couldn't really sleep because they were playing this Chinese action movie which was really loud, but it was definitely a memory maker.  We spent the day with the elders in a village newer to the church where they are looking to make a new unit of the church.  Kadavu is beautiful!  It probably has the nicest beaches I've seen in Fiji.  We flew back on Saturday.

We found out last Monday that Vilikesa got called to a 3-week deployment type thing for his job as a police officer.  So he won't be getting baptized until December.  But Lesi is all set for this week to be baptized!  And also remember that Korean family?  They kind of disappeared for awhile but now they are back and moved into a house in our area.  They wanted the sisters to teach the girls and us to teach James, their 14 year old son.  So we've been teaching him trying to get him ready for next week to be baptized.  He is doing good trying to learn the gospel (they weren't Christian before) and English.  We usually have a translator to help us teach him but yesterday we didn't, so he just pulled out his phone and we used an app like Google Translate to teach!  We hardly spoke at all, but the Spirit was so strong just communicating simple truths of the gospel to him in his native language.  Talk about the gift of tongues(or thumbs)!  Also Kesa and her husband are doing really well.  We committed them both to baptism but because of his work schedule it probably won't happen until late December.

Loloma bibi,

Elder Harris

October 30, 2016

Samabula - Week 16

E dua tale na macawa vinaka

Wow this week went by fast!

President and Sister Layton were in Australia this week for a mission president's seminar, so we just had a free week to proselyte!  It was great.  We worked hard and had a few exchanges, which were way fun.

We are seeing a lot of miracles in our area.  Probably the biggest miracle was with Kesa and her husband Efereimi.  A complete change of heart!  We still haven't had another lesson with Efereimi because of his crazy work schedule, but we have been seeing Kesa and she is really excited about it right now.  She said she's not going to miss church anymore and is going to continue her Book of Mormon reading.  She also said Efereimi wanted to come to church with her, but he had his work schedule changed last minute.  We are planning to meet with him again tomorrow!  I've been working with Kesa this whole time in Samabula so this has been way awesome for me to see.  We are also still working with Vilikesa, Lia, and Lesi who are all doing really well and preparing for baptism.  The main thing right now is working with Vilikesa with the Word of Wisdom because he has a few problems there.  But we're hopeful that they will get baptized in the next few weeks!  And the Simpsons are doing really well too; they didn't come to church because of a wedding in their family, but we're continuing to meet with them.  Our main focus is Sister Simpson because she is a bit reluctant to come back to activity in the church.  It's been a good week!

Yesterday was a holiday in Fiji called Diwali.  It is a Hindu holiday which almost all of the Indians celebrate and quite a few Fijians as well.  It's like the 4th of July and Halloween combined; lots of fireworks and you go to people's houses to get homemade Indian sweets.  Pretty exciting.  Our landlord invited us over to join their party so we went and ate a lot.  My favorite sweet is called a Goolabjaban (I have no idea if that spelling is right).  It's like a tiny little Krispy Kreme donut tasting thing that is really good.  

'Ofa atu

Elder Harris

October 23, 2016

Samabula - Week 15

Sa laurai

It's been a fun week!

This week we had a little Tour de Fiji.  On Tuesday, we flew up to Labasa to do a leadership training on Wednesday.  We did some exchanges with the elders there and then on Thursday we flew to Nadi to have another leadership training over there.  And we flew back to Suva on Friday.  It was a fun couple of days in which we had a lot of time to learn from President and Sister Layton and all their knowledge and life experiences.  It's so fun to be around them!

Things are going pretty well in our area.  We finally got Vilikesa to come to church and he said that he liked it!  He and his wife Lia are making great progress.  We are working with Matilda, a 9 year old girl whose family is mostly members.  She and her siblings all came to church yesterday as well but we're still working with her mom.  But once her mom is willing she is ready to be baptized.  Some other great progress we saw this week was with Kesa!  She's been on and off lately because of the situation with her husband, but we went to visit on Saturday and her husband happened to be there.  It was way awesome because we never see her husband because he is always working, but we got to get to know him and sit down with him, and we decided to talk about eternal marriage.  He thought it was really cool and wants to learn more!  It was a miracle!  And to make things better he dropped off Kesa to church in a taxi before going to work, which before he didn't even like her going to church.  We're super excited!

I got to baptize a girl named Joti this week who we have been teaching a bit.  She goes to a different ward but we taught her a lot of the lessons because her fellowshippers are in our area.  She had been going to church for more than two years and finally decided to get baptized.  One of the most prepared people I have met!  Her baptism was awesome.


Elder Harris

Joti's Baptism

This is Elder Johansson's son.  He's hilarious.

Viki a recent convert

Fish and rice with a Kiribati family

October 16, 2016

Samabula - Week 14

Cakacaka ga vagumatua

Well it was a good week.  We were lucky this week to just be in our area the entire week and just work as hard as we could.  As Mark Nelson always says "It doesn't get much better than this!"
So yeah, we had a few meetings this week with missionaries.  We had 2 leadership training meetings: one for the two Suva zones and the other for the two Nausori zones.  They were both really good and we learned a lot from President Layton on how to be a good leader.  There was a quote shared from Albus Dumbledore "Perhaps those who are best suited for power are those who never sought it."  I thought of Nephi, who probably shouldn't have been the leader, being the youngest, but because of his faithfulness was chosen over his two murmuring brothers.  It wasn't easy for him, and maybe it was uncomfortable, but he did it anyways because he loved the Lord.  

It was really refreshing this week to focus on our investigators!  I have been trying to work on obtaining charity this week, so as we met with our investigators I tried to see them from Heavenly Father's point of view.  It was amazing how much more meaningful it is to teach people when you have that perspective.  We found a family who is really progressing.  Vilikesa is investigating the church because his wife Lia is a member (she is from Navua!), and his sister Lesi is also investigating.  It is a bit difficult because he has that Methodist background and family, but he really has a desire to be married in the temple with his wife so he committed to be baptized!  We're working with quite a few other families and trying to help them see the big picture of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

I also got to go on an exchange with Elder Mumford from Phoenix, Arizona.  We lived in the same building back at BYU but never met each other!  He is a way cool guy and we had a great exchange and worked hard all day.  He has on of the best attitudes I've ever seen, and that's one thing I'd like to emulate in him.  It's always good to learn from other missionaries here in the great Fiji Suva Mission!

Thanks for all the prayers and have a great week!


Elder Harris

October 9, 2016

Samabula - Week 13

Oso and O soooo!


It's been another fun week down here in the islands.  We had a majorly busy week here with a new group of missionaries coming in, an old group leaving, and a bunch of missionaries getting shifted around.  There was plenty to do!  We were expecting the new missionaries to come in on Wednesday and everything was all prepared for them until we heard from the office that they hadn't gotten on their flight because of visa problems.  So that ruined all of the plans and we had to readjust, but apparently church headquarters didn't tell us that 2 of the missionaries HAD got on their flight, and so they were wandering around the airport by themselves in Nadi for awhile and actually got on the bus to Suva by themselves.  But we found them so it worked out okay.  So that was a lot of fun.  Then the rest came in on thursday and we had a few orientation things to do which was all good and fun.  Interesting side note as we were watching the Saturday Afternoon General Conference we saw at least 3 of those missionaries in the MTC choir that sang!  We're excited for them to be in the mission.  We also had to get all the missionaries leaving which was a big group of 10.  Elder Lautogia, one of my old companions was one that left so it was sad saying goodbye to him.  It was sure a busy week and stressful at times but all part of the learning experience.  

It was great to watch General Conference!  I needed it a lot because I felt so drained, and nothing fills you up spiritually like listening to apostles and prophets.  I don't know if I could pick a favorite talk because I liked them all, but one that really stood out to me was Elder Bednar's about coming to know the Lord.  I love the fact that we can come to know Jesus Christ by exercising faith in Him, following Him, serving Him, and believing Him.  Not only do we believe in Him, but believe that his power is actually potent in our specific situations.  All of the talks were so simple and enlightening.  As the world is increasing in darkness, evil, and complexity, we need to follow President Monson's counsel of following the plan of salvation.  We don't have to make it complicated!   It was a great conference.

We've been struggling a bit with our investigators, but we're still trying our best to help them out.  Christine and Stephanie are doing pretty good and we were able to share the Book of Mormon with them.  Christine owns a handicraft shop so we took some of the departing missionaries there before they left.  They've got a lot of good potential it's just working through a few issues with them.  We also have this Korean lady in our ward who brought her friend and her kids to church and they want to be baptized.  The problem is that they don't live in our boundaries, but they possibly may be moving to our boundaries, so we're trying to figure that out.  They don't speak very good English, but we are in luck that our Fijian stake president so happened to adopt a Korean boy who is helping us translate.  How cool is that?

Loloma yani,

Elder Harris

October 2, 2016

Samabula - Week 12

Vatotolo ga nikua

Sorry I won't have a lot of time to email today!  We had a really good week with a big meeting with all the leaders around the mission.  It was great to see everyone and be able to learn together from President and Sister Layton.  Elder Faamoe and I were also asked to present a training on Quality vs. Quantity Converts.  We had a lot of fun with it.  Our mission did really good this month with baptisms and returning members and we are trying to keep that going!

We also were able to baptize Sereseini this week!  It was a great baptism.  We did our baptism combined with another set of missionaries who had TWELVE baptisms so the photo looks like we're doing really well but really we only had 1/13 of the baptisms that day.  But it was way cool.  Yeah, that's me for this week!

Moce mada ka loloma yani,

Elder Harris

September 25, 2016

Samabula - Week 11

Fefe hake

Malo lelei,

Another fun week here in Fiji.  We did a bit of travelling this week to the northern islands, and then we helped a less-active lady get a calling and a temple recommend.  It was pretty fun.

So I was really excited to finish off the last zone conference this week with the Taveuni Zone.  We flew up to Labasa which brought back some memories when I was a little greenie flying up to Labasa.  It was way cool to see all the elders there, especially Elder Giacalone and Elder Lautogia, my old companions.  After the zone conference, we went on a few exchanges.  One I was on was with Elder Mumford from Arizona.  I found out he also went to BYU at the same time I did, but he went the full year.  I asked him where he stayed and he said Building 9.  I was like no way me too!  We talked and have a lot of mutual friends, and apparently my room was pretty much right above him.  Small world.  Then we went to Savusavu for a bit and then flew from there to Nadi and then back to Suva.  It was a good trip.  

One of the coolest things that happened in our area this week was helping Sister Mele receive a calling and a temple recommend.  Her niece was in Fiji this week from Tonga and has been helping her out a lot, and so we invited her to meet with bishop to get a limited-use recommend for baptisms for the dead.  She is way excited to go in for the first time, and we are going to help her get her names done because she wants to do the work for her husband and his family.  She also got a small calling within the Relief Society that she is really excited about.  She loves our visits and even got us the Tongan tupenu, which is a longer version of the sulu that we wear, and you tie it on both sides.  

The rest of our area is going pretty well.  Sereseini is getting baptized on Friday.  We were sad to learn that Salutu and Alice are going back to Tuvalu, but luckily we have great elders there who will be able to continue their teaching.  I think Salutu really had a desire to be baptized when he left.  

One cool thing we got to do this morning was go and participate in the LDS Primary School "Missionary Week."  Us missionaries are teaching their religion classes this week, and we had our first one today.  Elder Faamoe and I got assigned to Class 6 (6th grade), and it was a lot of fun!  It'll be fun this week.

'Ofa atu,

Elder Harris

Elder Faamoe

September 18, 2016

Samabula - Week 10

The Burning West...

Bula vinaka everyone.

It's been a good week!  I mean it's always a good week here in Fiji, but nonetheless each week has a unique twist to it that keeps me interested.

We had two more zone conferences this week.  One here in Suva and one out in Lautoka.  We had Suva on Tuesday and Lautoka on Thursday.  We drove out to Lautoka on Wednesday, which was a huge act of faith because I was having stomach problems the night before, and there isn't a ton of services along the road.  So I got a blessing, took a bunch of pills, and we made the 4 hour drive with no problems!  We had a great time in Lautoka doing exchanges and eating Burger King (which thankfully didn't cause any more stomach problems haha).  It's always fun visiting the burning west.  

On our way back from Lautoka we stopped in Pacific Harbor, which is in my old area of Navua, looking for a place to eat, and we met this lady named Amelia.  She was pretty crazy and I'm pretty sure slightly intoxicated, but she said she loved Jesus so she was going to take us to her restaurant "Beach Bum Burgers" and feed us.  The burgers were really good, especially considering they were free.

We saw a lot of progress in our area this week!  Sereseini is doing great and all prepared to be baptized next week.  And we finally got Salutu to come to church!  He came and brought one of his daughters; we almost didn't see him and actually didn't realize he was there until after sacrament meeting.  Alice didn't come because they thought bringing both daughters would be too much chaos.  But we went and sat with them later in the day and committed them both to be baptized!  I've seen so much progress in them this week.  Allen came again this week to church with his friend Andy who came like 4 weeks ago.  They only stayed for a bit because they were busy, but we had a gospel principles class about Family History and they thought that was pretty cool.  So we're going to keep trying to teach them with their busy schedule.  Lots of good things happening!  I know that the Lord is in charge of this work and is preparing His children for us to find and teach them.  
Have a great week!


Elder Harris

September 11, 2016

Samabula - Week 9

Lai lotu mada

Bula vinaka!

This has been another great week!  Nothing too crazy happened, but we just had business as usual.  I was kind of sick earlier in the week which was annoying, but I'm feeling great right now so that's what matters.

We had two other zone conferences this week with the two Nausori zones.  They went well!  It's a pretty cool opportunity to learn so much from President and Sister Layton.  Zone conferences are halfway over now.

This week we also went on some exchanges.  I went with Elder Sarufa on Tuesday.  He is from Papua New Guinea and is way cool.  One thing I love about him is that he is always smiling!  It's contagious.  We visited people in Samabula and had a way cool experience together.  One of our lessons fell through and we were walking and then a heard a familiar song from the radio from a house we were walking past.  It was a Tuvaluan song so we knocked and met this lady and her nephew who were both from Tuvalu.  They let us in and we started talking, and I found out that she had 5 kids and was trying to get a visa to New Zealand because her husband had died in a tragic car accident.  She seemed very humbled by it, and we decided to teach her about the temple and how she can live with her husband again with her kids forever.  It was such a spiritual lesson!  Her name is Eline and we're going to go and see her again tomorrow.  

I also went on an exchange with Elder Kubera from Hawaii in his area, Tacirua.  They are doing some amazing work out there.  It was a Saturday, and I think we had about 8 lessons.  Super fun.

Our investigators are doing pretty good.  Sereseini came to church this week and is working to be baptized at the end of this month.  We have been visiting her a lot with Joshua and his family.  She made a good friend at church with the Sisters' recent convert, so she is looking comfortable.  The rest of our investigators didn't come to church despite having really good lessons with them within the week.  We're having a hard time with it because that is the only thing that is holding them back.  But the Chinese guys came again to church!  Actually Allen came again with his new friend Joe (I feel like those aren't their real names).  They walked in during the last hour of church, so we sat down with them afterwards and taught them.  We had to go very, very basic with them because they had so limited Christian knowledge and limited English.  But one of our members served in Hong Kong and spoke Cantonese (these two speak Mandarin) so he could help a little bit.  But they said they want to learn more so we're going to start teaching them.

That's my week!


Elder Harris

September 4, 2016

Samabula - Week 8

Na Oca Vinaka.

Bula gang.

I know I said this last week but I lied.....this has been the busiest week of my life.  There was so much going on, and at times I felt pretty out of control, but it was really good because it pushed me out of my comfort zone.

We started out with a zone conference on Tuesday with the Suva North Zone and the Independent Zone.  It was way fun and went well considering it was Elder Faamoe and I's first one.  But we had a good time and were excited to listen to President and Sister Layton and their presentations.

So the Independent Zone is all the outer islands who don't fit into another zone: Tuvalu, Rotuma, and Kadavu.  They are the ones who are just out there all alone for a few months, but this was the week where they all come in and get new companions.  We are technically the zone leaders over them, so we were responsible for taking care of them for the week.  That was pretty fun, especially because I used to be in Tuvalu.  So we had a meeting with them on Wednesday because we won't be able to have another one for a long, long time.  The only other type of meeting we have is a conference call district meeting every week for just a short time. 

And on Thursday we had a Mission Leadership Council meeting with all the leaders from around the mission.  It went really well and we talked about ways we could keep the Fiji Suva Mission going strong!  The mission has been doing so good this year and we talked about things that will help us continue keeping the fire!  It was a good meeting.

And finally after all that we got to do some work in our area.  The last two weeks we have felt really good about our area and our investigators until Sunday haha when they don't come to church.  So we are reevaluating how we can help our investigators understand that.  Mele and Kesa are doing pretty good.  We have been able to have some good lessons with Mele, the Tongan lady who is coming back to church, and Kesa as well.  But Kesa is having a few problems with her husband that we're not too sure about so we're just going to keep trying and praying everything will work out there.  We tried seeing Salutu and Alice quite a lot this week but they were busy everytime.  We'll see how that goes.  But we've found some new investigators who look really good.  Bruce's sister, named Tima, is one of them who is really interested in the Restoration.

But in all it was a good week.  It was tiring but I learned so much and I am excited to continue to lay it all out for the Lord.


Elder Harris

August 28, 2016

Samabula - Week 7

Siga ni sucu


It's been one of the busiest weeks of my life!  But it was great!  We had a lot to do with transfers and preparing for some big meetings this week.

So Elder Condie went home this week.  It was awesome being companions with him but I'm happy for this next stage of his life!  My new companion is Elder Faamoe.  He is Samoan (I know I keep getting Samoans) and from Zion itself, Independence, Missouri.  He's a fun guy and loves to laugh a lot so I'm super excited to be companions with him!

We had a really busy week with a new group coming in from the MTC into our mission and transfers and a group going home.  We were running around all week and moving people around but it was all good fun.  It's so fun to see all the new missionaries because they are just excited to be here and be missionaries!  We need more of that greenie fire!

It was kind of a rough week in our area this week but still had a few glimmers of hope.  We finally got Kesa to really ask her husband if she can be baptized, and she has been asking him everyday!  But she said he hasn't answered her yet so I'm not sure what will happen..  But we'll keep praying and hoping that a miracle will happen and he will soften his heart.  Salutu and Alice are doing really well!  We started the Plan of Salvation with them and they have so many good questions.  They said that they want to be baptized, but the only thing holding them back is coming to church.  They said they would come, but then they didn't show up, so we were pretty bummed about that.  But afterwards we visited them after church, and Salutu said he had come to church with his two kids, but then the kids started screaming and stuff, so he just took them to a park and let them play.  So they are progressing but very slowly!

I had my birthday yesterday which was pretty good.  The Somosomo branch had a temple trip this week and has been staying in the temple patron housing which is in the same building as the mission office.  They had a big lunch and we got to eat some real quality Waicipoki which is my favorite Fijian food.  So that was the highlight of my birthday!

Talk to you next week!


Elder Harris

Elder Condie and Elder Faamoe (and Sister Layton photobombing)

August 21, 2016

Samabula - Week 6

Kaila vata kece!

Well it's been another great week here in Fiji!  Today was made a public holiday by the Prime Minister, and the 7s team just flew in yesterday, so there's a huge celebration going on in downtown Suva right now.  Not that we're going but just fyi.

This week is transfer week so Elder Condie is going home and I will be getting a new companion.  I'm going to miss Elder Condie, he's been a great companion and has taught me a lot!

This week was a week of miracles!  First miracle was the fact that President Layton got off Rotuma.  He was supposed to come off on Wednesday, but didn't get here until Saturday.  The runway there isn't paved, so if it rains then the plane can't land, and it just happened to start raining really hard this week and cancelled the flights twice!  But with some heavenly help there were two emergency planes sent on Saturday to make up for the cancelled ones, and President was lucky enough to get a seat and get back.  We have transfers this week so it would have been chaos if he hadn't got on.

All of our investigators are doing pretty well, just not really well.  Kesa is reading the Book of Mormon and working with her husband to get permission to be baptized.  Salutu and Alice are enjoying the lessons and really considering everything we teach them.  And a few other investigators are coming along.  But a lot of the week was just alright because of a school break and a big festival in Suva all week; a lot of people were gone.

So when church rolled around this last week we were just praying that our investigators would come to church because we tried really hard but all we got were lukewarm commitments.  No one came, and that was pretty disappointing.  But then the miracle came! We saw these two Asian guys show up late to sacrament meeting, and we figured they were members visiting or something.  But afterwards we saw Bishop talking to them and him beckoning us over to meet them.  We talked with them, and their names were Andy and Aaron, and they are from China, like legit mainland China.  They've been in Fiji doing construction for a few years, and they told us that their friend had invited them to church last week in Nadi, and then told them to come here this week.  

So we took them into our Gospel Principles class and tried to see how much they knew.
They knew nothing.  I think they recognized the word Bible and Jesus and that's it!  So we began with Chapter 1 focusing on our Heavenly Father (we just had the rest of the class participate but really it was focused on these two).  They were so excited!  After the lesson they were looking through the book and saw a picture of Jesus Christ and kept saying "Heavenly Father!" and pointing.  We quickly explained to them but it just shows how much they don't know.  But we were amazed at how amazing the Spirit is in directing those two to church yesterday.  Such a miracle and we are excited to see what will happen this week with them.


Elder Harris

Nice muddy days in the Settlements

Nice sunset behind the temple

This little food court is owned by this evangelical church haha

August 14, 2016

Samabula - Week 5

Oiau qori!


It's been a nice week.  President Layton is currently in Rotuma for a week=no meetings+lots of time to go and work in our area!

So yeah we have had a lot of time to go and work in our area this week.  It has been really fun, and we had a great time helping out all of our investigators, less-actives and recent converts that we are teaching!

It's been fun to see our recent converts after they were baptized last week.  They are super excited to members of the Church!  They all were confirmed yesterday and then Bruce and Joshua were sustained to receive the Aaronic Priesthood.  Bruce is excited to start passing the sacrament and wants to start sharing the gospel with his family.  We have an appointment with his sister on Tuesday!  I remember the 1st counselor in our Bishopric blessed him during his confirmation that he would "go on a mission and baptize lots of people."  Which I thought was amazing!  He's 17 so he could go in a year or two.  Joshua is excited as well; we saw him at a church activity yesterday evening with all of the old people doing their family history.  We went over to talk to him and he had already completed 4 generations of his family tree!  And Sister Rajendra is doing well and received an interview to prepare to go and do baptisms for the dead.  It's awesome to see the ward help so much by welcoming and helping these converts!

We've been teaching quite a few investigators.  First off is Kesa, who is 25ish and half Fijian half Tongan.  Her Tongan mom is a member who has just started to come back to church after 40 years, and Kesa is really keen to be baptized.  The only problem is her husband.  For some reason he has no problem with Kesa taking lessons and going to church but he won't let her be baptized.  So we're praying that he will soften his heart and say yes.  We are also teaching a Tuvaluan guy named Salutu and his half Fijian/half Palagi wife Alice.  It's been fun teaching them since he's from Tuvalu, and they're actually going back to Tuvalu in a month or two because he just graduated uni.  Their main concern is the Book of Mormon so we've been going over that a lot lately.

I've actually been able to see heaps of Tuvaluans here in Samabula!  We go visit a recent convert family that I used to visit every week, and I even saw Brother Niko in the mission office the other day!  It was so good to see him!  He was telling me that his son got a chance to meet the Queen of England! 

And Sala Lausaveve, one of my favorite members from Tuvalu, just showed up at our sacrament meeting yesterday!  It's pretty fun to see them and try to speak my broken Tuvaluan to them.

Fiji is ecstatic about the Olympics and winning their first gold medal in Sevens Rugby.  Friday was chaos after the game with everyone driving around beeping their horns and celebrating!  A member fed us lunch on Friday while the medal ceremony was on and we saw them receive their gold medals from the Princess.  It was so cool how they knelt and clapped when they each received their medal; that is the custom here in Fiji when you receive a gift from a chiefly person.

It's been a great week, looking forward to another one!


Elder Harris

August 7, 2016

Samabula - Week 4

Toso Viti Toso!

Well matavuvale, another week has come and gone.  Totolo saraga!  We had a lot of fun this week doing quite a few different things.  

Well in the beginning of the week we went to a Zone Training Meeting back in my old Suva North Zone!  It was way fun, and my old comp Elder Carlson and Elder Kubera did a great job training everyone.  We had it down in the Lami chapel which brought back a whole lot of memories from when I was in Navua and Lami was in my district!  

On Wednesday we had a training meeting for all the leaders in the Nausori area.  It was good to see all of them and see my old zone doing well!

The next day we had a good 4-hour drive to the Lautoka/Nadi area which is on the west side of the main island.  We spent two days there doing exchanges with the elders and doing another leadership training meeting!  The west is known for being really hot and dry, which I never believed because I mean we are in Fiji!  But the rumors are true!  There's also a significant amount of Indian people in the west; so add that to the dry nature of the terrain and I felt like I was in Afghanistan or something.  But as they say "The West is the best!"  Plus they have a Burger King in Nadi.  So the saying is true.  

Everybody in Fiji is excited for the Olympics!  For the first time ever, Rugby 7s is included in the Olympics, which so happens to be the ONLY sport in which Fiji has a solid chance at winning a gold medal.  They are #1 in the world at 7s, whereas NZ and Australia always dominate at the big-time rugby.  Fiji apparently has never won a medal, so this will be really fun.  Not that we get to watch anyway.....

My favorite part of the week was our baptism yesterday.  It was probably the best baptismal service I have ever been to on my mission.  Sister Rajendra, Bruce, and Joshua were baptized, and then the Sisters had two baptisms as well.  The whole ward showed up and was really supportive!  We even had Elder Johanssen, the Area Seventy who stays in our ward, preside and speak at the end.  It was a very spiritual time and a great experience for all those who were baptized and a few investigators in attendance.  Times like those make me realize how amazing it is to be a missionary!


Elder Harris

We found the Fiji Water Plant!
I had to..

Elder Condie turned 20.  We had cake with President and Sister Layton.

Suva North ZTM
Burger King!