Monday, March 24, 2014

Lesson From a Four Year Old

I took an awesome tour this week! It was this cute little family. The parents were switching off watching the kids while the other one was in the temple. Sister Samuels and I went and walked around with them for a little bit.
They had this little boy that was SO cute!! He was almost 4, I think.
But we were walking around, and this cute kid knew a TON about the pioneers and the gallery.
He would push the buttons and start the program things, and tell us "Shhhhh! Be quiet while he's talking!" SO cute!

At one point in the tour, the Dad asked the little boy, "What do the pioneers do?"
I was expecting him to say something like, "They walk a lot" or "They have handcarts", but instead he said something pretty profound. He said, "They build temples! Kirtland, Nauvoo, and Salt Lake City."
Besides it being pretty much the cutest thing EVER, it was just so profound! And so true!

We focus a lot on the pioneers getting away from persecution, which definitely was a huge part of their exodus, but I think that we sometimes forget the reason why they did all that they did. 
They know that a prophet had been called again on the earth and that the original Gospel of Jesus Christ had been restored through him! 

As a direct result of that, they were able to make covenants, or promises with God, both through baptism and through partaking of the ordinances in the temple. They pioneers knew how much the temple would bless their lives. They knew without a doubt that they could be together forever with their families and that they could find peace and strength through their temple covenants.

I am SO thankful for the temple and for the peace that comes into my life because of it! I love to share this quote from President Thomas S. Monson on tour:
"Some degree of sacrifice has ever been associated with temple building and with temple attendance. Countless are those who have labored and struggled in order to obtain for themselves and for their families the blessings which are found in the temples of God.
Why are so many willing to give so much in order to receive the blessings of the temple?

Those who understand the eternal blessings which come from the temple know that no sacrifice is too great, no price too heavy, no struggle too difficult in order to receive those blessings. There are never too many miles to travel, too many obstacles to overcome, or too much discomfort to endure. They understand that the saving ordinances received in the temple that permit us to someday return to our Heavenly Father in an eternal family relationship and to be endowed with blessings and power from on high are worth every sacrifice and every effort."

I definitely know that this is true! Getting to the temple is worth every sacrifice that we could make to get there, and in turn we are blessed with more than we could have ever given up.

I am so thankful to serve here and I am thankful for the wonderful examples of the pioneers. They truly testify with us as we tell their stories!

PS I PROMISE that I am writing a "What I wish that I would have known/done before my mission" post! It's coming soon! :)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A Typical Day!

I got a letter this week that asked me all about my typical day as a missionary, and what are some things that I had done/wish that I would had done to prepare for my mission.
So, in response to that, I'm writing a blog post! :)

My typical day is a little bit weird in comparison to a regular missionary day because I get to serve at a Visitor's Center, but I'll definitely tell you all about a day in the life of Sister Harris!

A regular morning, when we aren't serving at the Trail Center looks like this:
6:30 Wake up, exercise
7:00 Get ready, eat breakfast
8:00 Personal Study
9:00 Companion Study
10:00 Book of Mormon study
10:30 Go out to the area!
If we serve at the Trail Center for the morning shift, we have to be there by 8:45 and we stay until 3. Then we do a shortened version of our studies afterwards. If we serve the afternoon shift, we go at 3:00 and stay until 9:00.

When we go out to the area, we usually try to have appointments instead of dropping in on people (because nobody likes that!) But we're basically up and going all day long, until we get home at 9:00 at night. We get an hour for lunch and an hour for dinner, but we try to have meal appointments with members as often as we can.
At 9:00 we plan our next day. We have a plan for every 1/2 hour with a back up plan for every time slot just in case something doesn't work out.
Then we have some time to unwind and get ready for bed. We are in bed by 10:30. Then it starts over again the next day!

Here are somethings that we do when we are in our area:

  • Go to appointments
  • Street Contact (Talk to everyone who is outside)
  • Try and meet everyone on our ward list (There are SO many who we don't know!)
  • Have member meals
  • See miracles!
  • Service
  • Tract (Knock on doors. We try to avoid this as much as possible...) 

At the Trail Center we give a lot of tours! It's finally starting to pick up, which is awesome! During the summer it gets super crazy. You're basically running around for 6 hours with no breaks. There were days when I didn't get a chance to sit down or eat, but didn't even realize it because we were so busy.

I LOVE giving tours! It can definitely be challenging because we don't give the same tour to everyone that comes in. It's totally up to us what we want to share with them, so we really have to pay attention to the Spirit so that we can know what to share with people. You have to get to know people and know their needs really fast. Anyone that says that Visitor's Center missionaries aren't "real missionaries" obviously hasn't had a school tour of 50 kids, 5 other tours, and an unexpected tour bus pull up in the parking lot before. And you have to teach a mix of the history and the gospel to each of their needs.

There are SO many ways to fulfill our purpose as missionaries!

Being a missionary is exhausting, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. There are days and weeks when it seems like absolutely EVERYTHING is going wrong! I have been pushed to my limit many times and have wondered if I could keep going.

And the truth is, I can't keep going by myself. I can't do anything without the Savior.

During all of my trials and hard times, I have learned to rely on Him. He has become my best friend. My relationship with Him and with Heavenly Father has grown SO much and has become more than I ever thought that it could be. The best part is that it can still keep growing!

Being a missionary is the best thing ever!! I can't think of anything else that I would rather be doing right now.

Wow. This turned out long. I'll do part 2 of what I wish that I had known/done to prepare for my mission next week!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Street Contacting May Not Be The most Effective Method Ever

 We had a baptism this week! It wasTristan, who committed to be baptized the night before I was transferred. I didn't know if I would be able to go, and it was super stressful getting there because we have to have a less active member or an investigator with us to be able to attend, but it all came together at the last second, so that was good.

But the baptism was incredible. The change that has happened in Tristan is unbelievable. He was already awesome, but he just glows now! I'm so thankful that I got to teach him.   It was a great day!

Things here are good! I love TP with Sister Samuels! We are mostly working on finding new investigators to teach...but when are we NOT working on that...  ( really? haha...)

Yesterday the weather was AWESOME (75 degrees!) so we walked a lot and did a ton of street contacting. Absolutely no one wanted to listen to our message, but we did get told that we were "some fiiiiiine ladies" a few times...haha awkward. What do you even say to that??

We found a new investigator named Byron, who as it turns out was more interested in us than in learning about the gospel. We actually got some semi-creepy texts, and when we tried to turn him over to the Elders it didn't go over so well. They are still going to try to teach him, though, so we'll see how it goes.
We also met this guy that was pretty anti, but he did tell us that he was 1/32 Lamb-anite. (I'm trying to spell that how he pronounced it)

And we have some less actives that we are working with who are progressing so much! After a lesson with one of them she called us and left the sweetest message on our phone about how much she wanted to come back and how she felt the Spirit when we were there. So that was pretty cool!

Have a great week!!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Tranquility Park Adventures

This week has been weird and crazy, but so good! Sister Samuels and I are both loving Tranquility Park! It's been an adventure every day!

Sister Bowles and Sister Harris
We had a super funny/depressing experience on Thursday. We were trying to find a less active, so we went and knocked on her door. She didn't answer, so we decided to try the neighbors and see if they knew her. We went across the street, and a man answered the door and started talking to us. During the whole conversation, he was going back and forth between laughing and being super angry at his wife who left him for the neighbor. It was super sad...and super awkward. But he kind of knew enough to tell us that the less active had moved out. He thought that his wife next door might know more, and he told us to go and ask her.
So we went next door, and ended up talking to his wife's boyfriend for a bit, but while we were talking their dog got out and started chasing the husband's cat around the yard and into the other neighbor's backyard. Pretty soon the whole family comes out and starts looking for the dog.

So, of course S. Samuels and I end up running around in people's yards calling for Marley...eventually we found her and brought her back to the house.
It turns out they didn't have any information for us and they weren't at all interested in the gospel. We got in the car and didn't know whether to laugh or cry...but at least it's a good story.

We did see some cool miracles, though!

Last Monday night we got in contact with two less actives who want to come back to church! The timing of it all was just amazing. We happened to walk up to one as she was getting home, so we got in and talked to her for a bit and she said that she would come to church this week! It's really cool because when missionaries had contacted them before, they didn't really want anything to do with it. It's cool to know that it took white washing the area and having missionaries that have no idea what's going on to have those kinds of miracles.
And, we had a super slow day at the TC the other day. You kind of start to go crazy on those days, because you can only study for so long, right?

So we were just messing around with one of the wheelchairs, and we wondered how long it would take me to get around the gallery in the wheelchair. This, of course, led to an epic tournament of wheelchair racing. Sister Barton won with 42.77 seconds.
It was sweet.

Hope everyone is doing well.  Have a great week - and read your Book of Mormon!
Here are pictures from the last Zone Conference:

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Saturday, March 1, 2014

Hello New Adventures!

So as you may have heard, I got transferred!
I'm SO sad to leave Loess Hills! I really love it there and I just love those people so much. I grew a ton while I was serving there and I am so thankful for that time! Sister Jensen is training a new sister there, and I know that they will both be great!

I'm now serving in the Tranquility Park Ward! It's kind of weird, because I have been in the Council Bluffs Zone for my whole mission, and now I am in the Omaha West Zone! So it's definitely a change, but I am excited that I get to serve in Omaha!

My companion is Sister Samuels and I LOVE her! We are white washing, which means that we are both new to the area and therefore have absolutely no idea what's going on...but it's been so much fun so far! We had a ward party on Friday night, so that was a great way to meet a lot of people. And we've mostly just been going down the ward list trying to meet everyone on far so good!

We are teaching active members as if they are investigators, if that makes sense. Like we are picking focus families to teach every week and just going through the discussions with them.

Yesterday, we were trying to meet a less active member, and we pulled up to the house at the same time that the delivery guy got there...awkwardness! But we decided that following the delivery guy around would be a good finding tool/good way to meet people, because who doesn't want to see the delivery guy? Haha. Anyway, I don't know if I can fully capture the awkwardness of the exchange over email.

Sister Samuels is hilarious!! She's just a super funny person, which makes everything fun. She really likes adventures and trying new things, especially if it's food related! I'm sure that we're going to find some hole in the wall food places and try them this transfer.

I love you all so much! Have a great week!