Benin, Africa

Benin, Africa

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

November 28, 2016 Lots of ups, and little downs

Well, this week had a lot of good things, but some hard things too.. I will start out with the hard things first to get them over with. Tuesday night i couldnt sleep.. I had a high fever, so we went to the doctor the next day and sadly its Malaria.. i dont know how! i take medecine every single day to prevent it, and i even sleep under a net every night.. But, somehow i have it now! It basically means that im always cold; even when we walk around in the blazing heat, i feel freezing! I also have never sweat so much in my life.. i have head aches, thrown up a few times, and most of all i get really tired really fast.. But, it doesnt mean that i cant work! I just had to take things easy this week, and hopefully it can fade away this week..
One thing that has made these past few weeks is the missionaries that we live with..  I wish That the fact that they're dirty was the worst if it,  but it got serious this week..  The American Elder and my companion got into a yelling fight. The American Elder almost punched out my companion,  but luckily it was just yelling.  He said some very very rude things to my companion. Things I couldn't ever imagine a missionary saying!  But,  it is what it is.  Me and Elder Malala pray for them every morning and night,  so hopefully the lord can help them have the spirit in they're companionship..  Even though I disagree with most choices the other companionship makes,  I hope they Can learn to feel the spirit in theyre missions, and in theyre lives!
Okay! Even though w have had hardships, this week was so amazing! Me and my companion got invited to go to another church on friday night, so we went and it was so fun! We sang and danced, and yelled AMEN and HALLELUJAH at random times! I will never ever forget that experience!
This last week was also thanksgiving! So we left the sector just a little bit early so we could cook a huge dinner! We picked a bunch of chicken, and as we were walking to our house, our neighbor stopped us and asked why we had so much chicken! I went on to explain that it was a big day in america, and we wanted to eat a big dinner! He asked if he could come over to Celebrate with us and of course we said yes. But when he showed up, he had a 24 pack of some good ol Bud Lite.. We laughed, and began to explain that we dont drink alcohol, and while we cooked dinner, we taught him the Word of Wisdom! Now, him and his brother our now our newest investigators! They ended up leaving before dinner was even ready, so me and my companion ate way more than we should have that night! It was truly a night that i was grateful for everything i have..
Sunday was also a great day! We have been teaching this Mama in our area, andshe was ready for baptism! So after church on sunday i got the opportunity to do that! But we also had to do it 3 times... She was so scared to go all the way under the water! The first and second time i put her under the water, she flailed he body and we had to do it a third.. But its okay, i am so glad that it was finally done right!
This whole week me and my companion have been erally good at praying together as soon as we wake up, and right before we go to bed. We had some problems in the past, but we have been having so much fun working together! He has also been very good at Mothering me while i have been sick! Hes truly my best friend, and i hope we can work so hard for the last 4 weeks that we have together.
I just want to end off with a small testimony. I was able to give a talk on sunday about the book of mormon. i shared a quote that Elde Holland said "No wicked man could write such a book as this, and no good man would write it; unless it was true and he were comanded of God to do it"I hope everyone that reads this knows that i know with my whole heart that the Book of Mormon is true. I hope you do too.
Thank you all for the prayers. I couldnt do this without you! I love you all!
Elder Harris

November 21, 2016 Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! One really sad thing about Africa is i feel like they dont have holidays.. so we will just have to make the best of this thanksgiving! They do have christmas though, its very small, and not much happens but thats okay! Christmas in french is Noel, so thats kind of cool!

Not much happned this week.. On thursday it was pouring rain, but we had lessons, so we taught all day soaked! It was actually really fun, and felt soo good! But it gets super hot when it rains, becuase the clouds trap in all of the heat.. but no one could notice the sweat because i was already soaked! 

The one thing that is really hard for me here is the other missionaries.. They are just so crazy sometimes! But i like the people that i live with. I live with an elder from the Congo, and his companion is american! Theyre nice and i like them, but they re hard to live with sometimes.. i feel like i cant trust them most of the time. All of my food is stored in my closet becuase otherwise it gets stolen.. and we always have to lock our door when we leave just in case. its sad that i cant even trust missionaries sometimes.. But its okay! Maybe they just have a diferent dream of what a mission should be! Im learning to look past peoples differences, and accept them. Even though most of these missionaries arent even worthy to be here, im glad that they are here. I dont agree with a lot of the stuff they have done, and do every day here, but i am glad that they are out here serving! 

Teaching english is hard.. Im starting to realize how dumb english is! But its fun teaching the people, they want to learn so bad and i love it! 

The one really hard lesson to teach people here is tithing.. Because they are all so poor! We had a lesson with Jacque about tithing, and he had such a hard time understanding.. But we shared lots of scriptures, and both bore very strong testimonies, and the spirit testified to him that it was true! And by the end of the lesson; he was okay with tithing! Jacque is my favorite! I wish i could talk with him all day.. 

Even though tithing here is hard to teach, i love talking about it because it takes true faith to accept it. If you pay your 10 percent, whether its 1 dollar or 10,000 dollars, god will bless you the same! People here ask why.. why is tithing so important.. and i always ask them if they think god needs money! and obviously not, so why.. I think, that tithing is an obedience test. Heavenly father wants to know if you will give 10 percent for him! So if you dont know why we do things in the church, like drinking tea or coffee, or tattoos, or whatever it is, just be obedient. Do what the lord has commanded and he will bless you. I also love in Helaman 14 verses 29 and 30, it eplains that if we believ in christ, and love him we will be saved! Its all your choice 

If you really want to return back with Heavenly Father, then follow him! And if for some reason you dont, then you have no one else to blame but yourself. Choose to follow christ and you can have never ending happiness! Your salvation is in your hands. 

Im Thankful for you all this thanksgiving. Thank you all for the support, and love! 

Elder Harris 

1&2 This is Jacque, we are in front of his little store that he runs!

Monday, November 14, 2016

November 14, 2016 Finally, a calm week in Africa.

This week we didn't have anything crazy happen.  Finally!!  Just some good ol missionary work! This week actually was so much fun,  and we got so much done!  This week was also transfer week which is really stressful..  And being the new missionary,  I had a lot of people play jokes on me telling me I was being transferred!  But I'm very very grateful to say that I will be staying with Elder Ranjiamalala for another 6 weeks! He's a great companion.  Yes we have definitely had our hard times..  But,  we have gotten over that,  and have started to work very hard!  We have a lot of investigator right now too.  We had a very promising investor named Benoit,  but he just left on a trip for 3 weeks.. So we can keep up with him after that!  Our other very promising investigator,  is named Jacque! He is sooooo nice and so happy!!  I love teaching him because he has a million questions,  and is just overly happy when we answer them! In our lesson this week,  I recited the Joseph Smith first vision,  that I had memorized.  And he freaked out because he was so happy that I did that!  He is very very nice,  and very happy. Yet,  Jacque lives in his store that he runs..  It's about 12x12 feet.  With a bed,  desk,  and table where he fixes pants and sells them..  After seeing that,  it's very very hard for me to complain about not having power sometimes,  or having to walk a lot..  It gives me so much respect for the amazing people here in Benin. But I love Jacque!!  Hopefully we can Baptize him soon!  

So our apartment is pretty close to this huge lake,  and For P-day this week we walked down to this really cool place!  You can just get on a boat,  pay about 1 dollar and They will take you to the "villages on water"! But,  we didn't go. Yet!  We just looked at the boats,  and got some great pictures!  

This Sunday was very awesome!  I got the opportunity to baptize a kid named Michael!  Michael is the son of a member,  and just never got baptized.. He's 16 years old,  and we taught him a few times and he was ready!  So,  branch president gave us permission to baptize him on Sunday right after church.  Which was stressful for me,  because it was my first baptism of the mission,  first baptism I've ever performed in my life!  And there were probably 50 people surrounding the baptismal font outside.. But it went well!  He was very happy,  and so was I (: 

I really don't have too much to say this week other than the work is great, I love the people, it's still hot here,  and I Absolutely love the people!! But I did want to bare a short testimony. Mostly about repentance! My father was a very very smart man,  and this week I have really realized that..  He always told me that repentance isn't just a change of action,  but it's a change of heart!  And this week I was reading in Alma,  and in chapter 60, verse 23 it says "the inward vessel shall be cleansed first, and then shall the outer vessel be cleansed also". I think what he is trying to say is there Is absolutely no way that someone can repent of they're sins, if they don't have a change of heart!  You must change your heart. If you repent,  and don't have a change of heart,  then you didn't repent!  Repentance means change,  and you absolutely have to change your heart AND your actions.  

Repentance is hard sometimes,  but we are so blessed to have the opportunity to repent!  Without it,  we would never be able to get back with Heavenly Father. Whoever is reading this,  Jesus Christ died for you.  He knew that you would need the repentance process and he literally gave his life for you!  So change your heart,  and always strive to be better.. (: 

I love this church more than I can explain.  It brings me happiness beyond measure! 

Thank you for the love,  support, and prayers.  I love you all so so much.  

Elder Harris 

this is Elder Jensen and I at the boat Doc! 

The boat doc

a beautiful African sunset 

the baptism, and me because i am really happy!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

November 7, 2016 Nothing works in africa

My favorite investigator named Benoit!!

This week had a lot of ups, and a lot of downs. You know that point in life,  when bad things just keep happening to you,  and you just laugh because things keep happening??  Well that was us this week.  Tuesday night I was cleaning the dishes,  and our of no where,  the whole faucet just falls off of the wall and water sprays everywhere! I put my hand infront of the spraying water,  and yell for Elder Malala! He came running in and got under the sink to shut off the water.  But by the time,  we were both soaked, and our kitchen was flooded..  So we just sat in the water and laughed for 5 minutes or so! After that we mopped up,  and cleaned everything off.  The worst part about this,  is we had no sink this week.  And that means no clean dishes,  and that means no filtered water!  So we drank from sinks for the most part.. We just asked Heavenly Father that we wouldn't get sick because of drinking that water!  On Saturday we finally someone to come and fix it for us. I've never been so grateful for a sink! 

Also this week,  I got my first terrible haircut of the mission!!  My companion said "I promise I'm good at cutting hair" so I let him..  10 minutes later,  I look like I'm in the Army..  It's so short!!

Everything is good here!  Me and my companion usually get along pretty well.  We work really hard in our area, and we have fun!  Every companionship has problems,  but I still love him! French is difficult,  but it's actually coming along! I still make lots of mistakes,  and have lots of words to learn. But I can understand most things,  and I usually respond to them!

Crazy story for the week: 
So Thursday night,  my companion and I were walking along the road.  And we were walking past this man who was fixing a car tire.  He somehow had got the car jacked up,  and he put all of the weight on just 2 bricks..  (isn't that just asking for trouble?)  he was sitting up right,  with his legs under the car,  and he was working on the car where the tire would be.  Well,  sure enough right as we walk by,  one of the bricks broke. Which made the other one break,  which made the whole car fall on this man's legs!  He starts yelling for help,  and so we run to help!  Well,  us,  and about 5 other people lifted this car up,  and the man got out!  He had very minor injuries.  Just some bruises,  and some sore legs! We tried talking to him, but he seemed pretty distraught,  so we let him be. 

I love that this experience happened for a few reasons.  I believe that the natural man is very very nice.  As soon as this man started yelling, lots of people came to help!  It just makes me love everyone here so much more,  because I know that if I were ever in need of help that they would come running to help me. 

Heavenly Father is there same way with his children.  Whenever you need help,  just yell for help!  All we have to do is ask,  and have faith that he will help.  I love Alma chapter 32! If you have the time,  please please read it!  It talks about faith a lot,  and I love the way that he words that chapter.
i love this gospel, and i cant wait to see what the next 22 months brings! Thank you all so much for the prayers and support!
Elder Harris

Our Broken Sink

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

October 31, 2016 Happy Halloween!

First of all,  I'm glad they don't have Halloween in Africa. It would be crazy here! Anyway,  what a hard,  and amazing week it was.  One of the hardest things is the power and water situation.. I'd say the power is out at least 15/24 hours every day!  And if it's our during the night its impossible to sleep! Usually when it goes out,  we just go sit on the roof. We take flash lights and make hand puppets on the side of a wall it's kinda fun!
It's hard when we have no water too..  That means we have a huge pile of dishes in our sink,  it means it's super hot and we have no water!  It means no showers after walking all day..  It's so hard!  Never ever in my life have I had this problem,  and it's rough..  But it's okay!  These people have done this all there lives,  and they are happy!  So,  I'll be happy too!

We were in a lesson this week,  and they had about 9 dogs.  Well,  in the middle of our lesson, all of the dogs just started howling! Literally out of nowhere!  It was like on Zootopia, with "the howl". It was pretty funny!

So I don't know if it's just Benin,  but here if you say hi to an lady who's over the age of 40, you call them Mama!  So there are a lot of of Mama's that live the missionaries around here! it's funny because they are so nice to us,  but it seems like they are so mean to they're kids..  A lot of Mama's here cut their toenails so they are sharp.  And they kick the kids when they do something bad!  It's kind of weird,  but it gets the kids to do what they want..  Haha! 

So they don't really have a garbage system here..  So they just throw it out in the streets,  or in huge piles all around the city!  Once the piles get big,  they just put it in a big pile in the road and burn it!  Well on Tuesday,  it was late and we had just finished our last lesson.  Well we walked past this huge fire in the road!  And as we walked past,  the wind had blown it,  and it caught this house on fire!  So me and my comp,  and the people who owned the house, and 2 other guys,  just got buckets of dirt, and threw it on the fire!  (there was no water..)  We did this for about 15 minutes until the fire had been smothered! There wasn't any serious damage to the house!  But the roof might need to be replaced a little bit.  And maybe one of the walls of the house.  But over all everything was okay and no one was hurt!  The family was very grateful,  and they are now our new investigators!  Haha hidden blessings maybe? I think maybe your house getting caught on fire is worth your salvation right?? 

But the work is great!  Me and my companion are working really well together!  We made up a language one on Thursday!  It's basically just gibberish,  plus some French,  and English.  It makes no sense.  But it's kinda fun! 

The work is hard but great!  Last week I mentioned that we had 8 baptisms. Well,  sadly we couldn't baptise any of them because there was NO WATER!!  So we pray that we can make that happen this week! 

Friday was an interesting day. We had a full day of lessons scheduled,  and every single one of them fell through..  
So,  we went Tracting.  All day.  And we were pretty sad because all of our plans fell through..  As we walked,  I said a prayer in my head,  pleading that we could find someone to help! Well,  the lord Delivered!  By the end of that day,  we had found 2 families,  and 4 other people!  12 new investigators! We couldn't believe how much the lord had blessed us with!  I prayed for one person,  and he let us help 12. I think this just goes to show how much the lord cares about his children! And if you just pray,  with a sincere heart,  with real intent,  then the lord will answer your prayers!!  (Moroni 10: 4-5)

I love you all so much! 
Elder Harris


this an awesome mask i found for haloween!

This is Moe Moe the monkey!

(Side note from sister Syd-- we're trying to figure out a better way for Gavin to share his pictures with us. I'll be posting the pictures as soon as we can get it worked out!)

Friday, October 28, 2016

October 24, 2016 2 Months!

This week has been one of the best weeks for me, because we worked so hard! i think on thursday we taught 11 lessons!! it was insane! But it was great. My comp has this thing that tracks how far we walk, and on tuesday we walked almost 13 miles!! We didnt have a ton of lessons that day, but we sure did get a bunch of new investigators!
This week we had 2 people say yes to Baptism! One, is a 38 year old man named Benoi, and the other is a very old lady named Martin√®! So they are scheduled for Nov. 19th, so we are very very excited for that! Also this weekend,  we have a family of 8 who are getting baptised!  I have only taught them 3 or 4 times. But I will have the privilege of baptising 3 of them on Saturday!  I can't wait!! 
So saturday was a very cool, yet weird day.. We woke up, studied and ate, and we were going to go out to our lesson, but we didnt dare leave our appartment! about 50 yards from our front door, there was a HUGE VooDoo rally! With about 2000 people.. So there was no way that i, being white, was going to leave.. so we didnt! We stayed in our appartment almost all day.. Because if we would have gone out, and a voodoo "god" saw a white boy,  thats bad bad news.. haha!! So we sat on the roof all day,  and just watched people go crazy!  But at one point it died down for about an hour so we went to check it out. And it was crazy! They have these men dress up in costumes, and run around with drums, and everybody runs from them!! I dont know why, but i think if they touch you, it means that you are cursed or something. But i got some videos and pics that i will add to my Google Drive! 
At the voodoo rally's they get in this huge circle,  and they have these men dressed up in these big costumes. And they dance around,  and randomly chase people, and wack people with these stick things!  And it's fun to watch cause it's just hundreds of people running like they're life depended on it!
I think it was a voodoo holiday,  because the same thing happened on Sunday. But we had a huge meeting with the whole stake (all of Benin) so,  we have a security guard infront of our apartment, and he and 2 other guards walked us through the crowd to our taxi!  It was kinda fun,  everyone couldn't believe that they saw a white boy at a voodoo rally!  I can also say the first time I ever touched marajauna, was on my mission!  This guy handed me this bag and wanted to sell it to me,  and I didn't know what it was,  so I opened it and there was a lot of it..  Haha it laughed and gave it back to him,  and quickly walked away! 
But on a better, more spiritual note, Sunday,  we had a huge conference with all of the members in the country!  It was pretty big,  about the size of 3 normal sized chapels!  So I didn't understand much,  but from what I did,  it was great!  Also,  Africa is very very different..  You wanna know how much different?  At this huge conference,  a lady gave the opening prayer,  and she had a little baby in her arms.  During the prayer the baby started fussing. So,  in the middle of the prayer she lifts up her shirt and starts breast feeding this baby! Everyone kinda freaked out a little it was hilarious!
I love it here,  it's very interesting to me!  The power goes out,  probably 3 or 4 times a day.. But there's a lot of great things here!  The sunsets are beautiful every single night! Most people here love english! All of my investigators ask me to bear my testimony, and pray in english! I have many people ask me to teach them english, so i think this class shoud be getting bigger! One thing I like,  is there are animals everywhere!  Dogs,  chickens,  goats,  lizards, and snakes! At a lesson this week,  this little chicken kept pecking my foot,  and I kept kicking it away.  And after like 30 minutes,  our investigator just picked up the chicken and threw it across the street!  It was hilarious!

Before i end, i would like to share something small that i read in my personal study this week. Alma 32 is amazing! But one thing that really stuck out to me is verse 27. All you have to have is a particle of faith!! All over in the scriptures, it says those who simply believe in christ and repent will be saved. If you have questions or doubts, simply believe in christ, and continue to build your testimont off of that. 
Elder Harris 

This is one of the guys that would chase people. ​
Voodoo Rally

Voodoo Rally

Some of the guys at the voodoo rally wanted a pic with me. Yes they are smoking Weed. But they were super nice! ​

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

October 17, 2016

Well i think im getting a little used to africa!

Funny story, we were going to play soccer with a group of investigators, but we had to take a bus. So the busses here are just like a van, that they somehow just pack like 25 people in.. its crazy. But we had to get in the very back of teh van cause it was full. so we get in, and he starts to pull into the road, and we just get smashed by a car! I guess he didnt see us, but it totalled his car, and did some pretty good damage to the van. No one was hurt, but us missionaries got the worst of it cause it was right behind us.. But just some good brusing on the legs and some sore areas! it could have been a lot worse! I know that the lord was really looking out for us! ill attach a picture of the car that hit us! But, i finally saw my first crash here, so thats cool! 

Also this week we had a lot of problems with the water.. i ended up showering with water bottles twice.. that was pretty rough but its okay! 

This morning there were some pretty solid earth quakes too! it didnt do any dammage but it was kinda cool! 

last funny thing. Here in africa people loooove christ. No matter theyre religion. So almost every investigator we teach does this. Whenever someone prays, they just yell AMEN during they prayer!! i was saying a prayer, and i just kept saying stuff cause i wanted them to keep yelling AMEN!! it startled me at first, and i laughed sooo hard in the missle of one of my prayers, but people love to jsut agree with you right away i guess! 

Things are great here. Crazy, but great. We have about 4 solid investigators, and they are doing great! One of them, hes learing english, so i teach all of his lessons in english! Speaking of that, me and my companion might be putting together an english class every wednesday night! Ive had cuontless people ask me to teach them english, so that might happen soon! 

I love it here! Its very very hot, extremely humid, but gerat! I know that the lord loves each and every single one of you, and if you ever ever need help, just pray with real intent. The lord wants you to be happy!! 

Thank you all for the prayers and support.


Elder Harris 
This is Jack! he is so cute!!
this is the car that hit us!
my companion and i! our shirts are both from madascgar! Thanks tosh (;

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

October 11, 2016 Things just offically got real

Well, we finally flew out! we ended up flying from utah straight to Paris, and we ran from that flight straight onto the other flight to Benin! We were probably only in paris for about 20 minutes..on the flight to Benin we talked to soo many people! i gt 3 contacts beforei even got there! Once we got there, right as they opened the door, the windows immeadenly fogged up because it is sooo humid here! that night we just met the president and went to bd at the office.
The next day we had training for about an hour, and then they threw us in a taxi to meet our companions!my companions name is Elder Rajamalala! He is just a little guy from Madascgar! he is sooo nice, and everybody loves him! he has been out for about 13 months, and just got dont with being the Assistant to the Pres.! So, he is great, but he has a lot of problems with obedience.. sadly, basically this whole mission does! they all base theyre mission off of a scripture. D & C 10, 4. it basically just says work hard play hard.. SO we will work on that.. He works very very hard, but also breaks a lot of rules.. but love him a lot!!
So, Africa.. its impossible to describe. the only way i can explain it, is just think of the poorest, dirtest, place in the world.. also SO crouded!! everyone here rides Mottos and i mean EVERYONE!! kids, old people, they can fit soo many people on a motto. In the states,  a motto can fit 1 person maybe 2! in Benin, on one motto, a family of 5, a couch, 2 dogs, 12 chickens, and a goat. no joke. yesterday i saw someone had a fridge on theyre motto!! so, im not even really worried about the malaria or sickness, im worried about getting killed by a motto! they dont even care about pedesterians.. they will drive 60 mph 6 inches away from yuo and not even bat an eye.. so we gotta be careful!!
Also, i dont think they speak french here!! its soooo different!! seriously, it doesnt sound like french, it sounds like just an african language... but im starting to understand a little but its goingto take a looonngg time.. Also one thing here is the smell.. i dont mean to be negative but its just so bad.. but its okay!! there are about 100 missionaries in this mission. Only a handful from the states. Most from the Congo, or ivory coast, or ghana or Nigera! For some reason the congos are just..... annoying.. they are sooo disruptive and never want to listen.. but its okay! im glad they came to serve and i hope that they can help us all feel the spirit inthis crazy country!!
yesterday we went to this huge marker in cotonou, and it was so funny cause i ended up buying raybands, a rolex watch, and nike shoes, for 8 dollars... it was so cool there!!

I just want to share a crazy, but spritual story to end. So, like i said my comp is a little me and elder Jensen wanted to work but our comps just wanted to sleep.. so even though elder jensen and i had only been in the country for 1 day, and new zero french, we decided to go tracting! so we left, and it was funny because we were the only 2 white guys in this huge city. So we talked to a whole bunch of people! But about an hour in, we had a group of abuot 8 or 9 guys stop us.. and basically they just robbed us..  they took our watches, glasses, and all of our money.. as they did this they pulled our a panphlet out of my backpack! and asked what it was, i began to explain that we were missionaries of jesus christ,  and i asked them some questions and long story short, i asked them to come to church with us and they ended up giving us all of our stuff back and just walking away!!! but they didnt come to church.. i just thought that was a cool story, and an example that the lord is helping me.
i love this mission, and i am so happy to finally be here!!!
Elder Harris

October 10, 2016 An Email From President Morin

Good Morning,
We would like to inform you of the arrival of your wonderful son in the mission field October 4th, 2016. He will be serving in Benin in an area called Universit√© with a great companion named Elder Randriamalala from Madagascar. His next preparation day, the day he will be able to write home, is Monday, so you should be hearing from him soon. We also attached a picture of your son with my wife and I. He is looking great and is happy to finally be here, and you can be proud of the service your son is doing at this time for the Lord. May God bless you.

President and Sister Morin.

October 1, 2016 HAD SO MUCH FUN!!

LOVE YOU ALL!! had so much fun at conference today!! 

September 30, 2016 ALMOST TO AFRICA!

These are the "Benin Boys" All of us fly out on tuesday! 
Wow, what a week! This is my last week in the MTC, and on tuesday i fly out to AFRICA!

Choir is awesome! I am singing a Tenor 1.. so basically i sing as high as i possibly can the whole time..but its great! Just in case you didnt catch it, i will be singing in the MTC Choir for General Conference for this Saturday Afternoon session! I actually got a really good seat too. I will be on the 3rd row, almost right smack in the middle of the whole choir!  There is only one Elder to my right, and then its the sisters. So, if you would like, look for me. Who knows, i just might give the camera a little wink (; JK i might get excommunicated if i do. My Director would snap my badge right in half.. We have had practice twice daily! In 8 days, we had almost 23 hours of choir practice.. about 2 hours every morning, and 2 every night, and on tuesday we had almost 6 hours of practice! So its really been wearing me out.. but so worth it! 

So, this has been such a great week, but soo long.. Our whole zone is so excited to get out into the field, and classes seem to be twice as long.. Plus, yesterday, we had 'In-Field Orientation' and what that is, is 'Sit in class for 8 hours and learn about absolutely nothing' just kidding, it was great but soo long.. They just taught us how to work with Members, and what to eat from street venders, and what pills to take if we get really sick (that part was sketchy) and just random things about how to always act like a missionary and not like a tourist.. So that was fun kinda. 

This week has also been awesome because i feel a little more comfortable with my french. I know once i get there, i will basically forget all of it, but thats okay! because the lord will provide! 

I dont have much more to write about, Other than one small experience that i had last night:
So every night from 9:30 to 10:15 we have a little time to get ready for bed, and to write in journals, and talk with our zone. Well i was walking down the hall just going back to my room, when i had the weirdest impression to knock on this door.. i didnt even know who lived there! So i knocked, and Elder King answered the door. Elder king is a district leader of a very very small district, and more or less, a kind of odd kid. But he opened the door just bawling, and i started talking to him, and he had been having problems with depression and home sickness, and physical sickness, and he told me that every time he asked his companion to give him a blessing, the companion would always make up excuses of why he couldn't do it right then.. Long story short, I talked with Elder King for a long time, and he asked me to give him a blessing. So me and my companion got dressed in our sunday best, and I was able to give him a blessing. Now i know this story isnt really huge or exotic, but it is one of the only times in my life that i have felt the spirit so strong! It guided me into that room, and i was able to relate, and help elder king! 

I heard a quote this week, it says "We follow gods commandments not because we fear him, But because we love him" I know that this church is True. I love it with every ounce of my little heart, and cant wait to share my happiness with the amazing people of Benin! 

Love you all so much! 

-Elder Harris 

p.s. congrats to Connor for making the football team, and Tosh for skydiving! Love you two! 

 Elder Baker and i getting ready for Choir practice! (look at my sick shoes)

September 23, 2016 Such an amazing week in the MTC!

Before i start my email to everyone, i just want to congratulate my Beautiful sister Sydney for having her baby this week!!! On September 20th, at 8:00 Pm (i think) Lewis Jay Raynes was born!! CONGRATS SYD AND DAVE I LOVE YOU GUYS AND I CANT WAIT TO MEET LEWIS! 

Anyway, there wasn't a whole lot that happened this week.. But there are some exciting things! 

So Being the district leader is getting harder and harder.. Ive had 5 elders come in and talk to me about other elders in the district.. So ive had to try and help them out, and thats been great! But its just a lot more that me and my Branch president have to think about.. I also get to attend 5 meetings a week! I actually dont mind the meetings, but i do have to really prepare for them.. Dont get me wrong, i love being the DL, i get to pray for the elders in my district and help them as much as i can! 

On sunday we had choir practice, and then the devotional. After the devotional they were handing out flyers to come and audition to be in the MTC Choir for General Conference! So our whole district decided to try out! So on monday, we auditioned and we got to pick any song we want! So i picked the song "I Lava You" its like off of a short film made by disney or something... But this elder in my district played the Uke with it and it went well! But there were just over 1,900 missionaries that tried out so i wasnt getting my hopes up.. haha, but on tuesday, i got a letter in the mail inviting me to sing in General Conference!! I will be singing with about 200 elders and 200 sisters, for the Saturday Afternoon session! So, maybe look out for me? And if you are coming to conference, id love to hear from you before hand! 

We had our first practice on tuesday, and we have 10 days to memorize and perfect 4 songs... so please pray for us! They gave me a new suit to wear, and its so nice! The lady said it was a $500 suit! So, gotta be careful.. Also, this morning, me and this other Elder n my district, Elder Baker, got asked to be the section leaders for the Tenors! So, basically just more work.. BUT its good cause the MTC is flying by cause im so busy! 

That was basically the huge news for the week! Our investigators are progressing, and the lessons are getting a lot better! Our french is good enough to teach on almost anything we want without notes! But i dont want to say that i speak good french, cause i know if i do, then i will have to take it back in a couple days in africa.. So! 'Bonne Chance' (good luck) to me.

I cant even begin to to explain how much i love my whole district and zone! Every night in the Dorms, we have spiritual rap battles! Elder Dorsey (an African american Elder) Always battles against someone else! They are actually really good!! 

Lastly i would just like to share something spiritual. This week i was digging deeper into the subject of Faith. And i came across Ether 12:6 in my personal study! If you are ever having problems with faith, read this! It talks about faith are things that are not seen, and faith will NEVER come until after you have received a trial of faith! So if you are ever going through any trials, its because the lord knows that you can handle it, and he knows that you can learn from it! 

I love this Mission with all my heart, and i cant wait to Fly out to Africa in 9 days! 

I love you all, and thank you for your support! 

Elder Harris 

This is my song book for General Conference! 

September 16, 2016 I LOVE MY MISSION SO MUCH!

This week was by far the best week yet!! So many amazing things happened! 

To start off, on sunday we were in our classroom studying, and our Branch President came in and asked to see me in the hall! So we went out and talked for a while, and finally at the end of our little meeting, he extended an invitation to me to be the new District Leader! and of course i said yes! I was so excited!! So, basically i pick up all the mail, and attend a ton of meetings throughout the week, and i get to conduct all of our district meetings, and its fun! Plus, now i can pray for my district more, and hopefully be able to help them as much as i can! 

Also on sunday, we always have a devotional, and usually the sunday devotionals are just someone thats not very widely known throughout the church, and we knew we werent going to get like an apostle or anything cause we had elder Christopherson last week! But we thought wrong.. As we sang in the choir, Elder M. Russell Ballard walks in the building!!  It was so amazing to hear him talk! He just talked about how important  it was to have a good attitude as a missionary, and what things we can do to make the mission more enjoyable! a few cool things that he said were: 
"as a missionary, you are literally standing in for the lord" 
"Christ is our Hero! Act like it in every way!" 
and last, "Its not about teaching knowledge, its about teaching the spirit" 
So that was amazing experience! 

Then came Tuesday, and we knew that an apostle wasnt coming cause we had already had 2 in the past week! well.. To our astonishment, Elder Quentin L. Cook walks in, as the whole place goes silent! He talked about The 4 ways to love your mission more! Love your companion, the people, your mission Pres, and mostly the lord! He also asked us to all read d&c, so i will be doing that soon! 

So, in one week in the MTC, we had 3 apostles of God Come and speak to us!!! 

That was probably the best part of my week! Other than that, The french is still really hard, But its coming! We have 2 'investigators' that are progressing really well! Alice, commited to baptism, and is doing great, and Hospice hasnt commited just yet but i think he will soon! 

Teaching in french is actually really really fun! I love the language so much! Something cool that my teacher said, is basically that the language shouldnt ever be a barrier in our lessons.. he said if you teach with the spirit, and are very prepared, then the lord will always help the lesson progress! 

Speaking of, I love my teacher! He just got back from Benin, and He says that he compares Benin to Haiti! The people are basically the same, they are just as poor, and everything is pretty rough over there.. But he said you just get used to things not ever working! haha like the water, or the power.. he said you cant really rely on anything.. so. CANT WAIT!!!! 

We had a Malaria Appointment yesterday with the MTC Doctor guy, and he said he has been to every single country in africa, but not Benin!! He said that Benin is the Malaria Capital of the world.. He scared the crap out of our whole district! But then he said that everything was going to be okay cause the church is really really good at treating it.. haha He said dont be scared of malaria, but we HAVE to respect it! whatever that means.. 

I love this mission, its so hard, yet so dang good! I miss everyone so much, but thank you all for your prayers! S/O to Connor! Happy 16th Birthday buddy i love you so much dont kiss too many girls!!! And Special S/O to Sydney!! Good luck with everything!! I hope that the baby comes this week!!!!!! 

-Elder Harris 

Quote of the week: How do you bring people Heaven? Teach the Hell out of them.

September 9, 2016 LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!!

The provo MTC is the weirdest/coolest place! Last saturday we had a class with our whole french zone, and i had to go to the bathroom so elder slade and i walked out of the room and there was like 10 elders huddled around something, so we went to check it out. And there was a BAT!! it was just a lil guy, but it was like walking around, and we were all taking pictures and stuff. So that was interesting! On of the Sisters dorm buildings had to be evacuated because of a huge bat problem! 

As missionaries we dont have too much to talk about.. one of our conversations this week was "Do Celestial beings fart...? and if so, does it smell good...? seeing as how no unclean thing can dwell in the presence of god..." so yeah that was interesting... 

another funny thing, was we were planning our district goals. and our teacher wrote "Big Goals" on the board. but it was funny because she wrote it in french, and in french 'big goals' is "Grande Buts"!! So it was funny cause she had no idea why there were 11 elders laughing soo hard cause she just wrote big buts on the board really big!! 

one last funny thing. Its funny at the MTC, you can always tell where a bathroom is, because there will be like 20 elders just chillin in the hall! and its funny because they're just all waiting for they're companions to get out of the bathroom!! so its always funny to walk past them and just know why they are there! 

Every sunday night we have a devotional, and it was great cause our whole district joined the choir, and so we got really good seats for the devotional! And we had the treat of listening to Chad Smith!! Chad played for BYU football, and eventually went on to play 10 years in the NFL! mostly for the Phili Eagles! it was so great listening to what he had to say to all of us missionaries! 

So every sunday and tuesday we have devotionals, and sunday devotionals are usually someone who is not as widely knows as the tuesday speakers! so. On tuesday, we were in the choir, and i just had this feeling that we should get there extra early.. so we got there waaay early and got front row seats! so we practiced with the choir for an hour, and waited for about an hour in our seats for the devotional.. and in walks Elder D. Todd Christofferson. and the whole place just went dead silent as he walked in.. SOOOO COOL!! He mostly just spoke about repentance,and why its so vitally important in the church! and at the end, he said a few things. He said "As an apostle i know how much the church loves the missionaries. The quorm of the 12 and the first presidency consider you guys to be our companions. And you need to go all over the world and invite people to repent! Because as a missionary, You truly hold the kingdom of heaven in your hands.." mind. blowing. He was such a great speaker!! 

Other than that, the week has been pretty much the same! French is so hard. Being with a companion is so hard. And having a 16 hour day, with basically no free time is sooo hard.. But this Gospel is worth it. I know that there is people in Benin who have been praying for me, and need to hear the message that i have prepared for them! 

My goal in the MTC, is to just be that elder that everyone wants to be around!  I talk to everybody. I ask everyone where they are going. and i simply just try and be friends with everyone!! Its so much fun! At one of the devotionals, i sat next to this kid, and right away started talking with him! He was from argentina, got called to serve is Turkey. Before the MTC, didnt know any english, and he had to learn turkish which is a 9 week mtc stay!! SOOOO COOL! He was so nice amd just had a great testimony. Ever since i met him, i knew that i could do this! If that elder can learn 2 languages, and have a great attitude, then why cant i?! so, my mission goal, is to be the elder who is always happy, and just loves everyone!  

If you want to have a good life, Simply serve. Always. 

I love all of you, I pray for you every single day, and im thankful for your prayers! 

Elder Harris 

p.s. want to have a good week? Read 2 Nephi 31-33. It will change your life. 

Friday, September 2, 2016

September 2, 2016 1 week down!

So this week was quite the roller Coaster.. It started off really fun! And i was loving my companion, and my district. and then around day 3, this mtc really hit me.. i couldnt speak the language to save my life. I did not like being around my Companion. and it seemed like everybody else was having such an amazing time! I was by far the worst french speaker in my class.. we had 5 hours of french class every day, and i had no idea what was going on! it was pretty depressing.. i was crying a lot at night, and sadly i comprehended talking to my branch president about coming home.. 

And then on sunday, we had choir practice for the devotional on tuesday, and we had sacrament, and both of those were amazing! But the best part about sunday, was our temple walk! our whole zone, walked up to the provo temple, and just looked at it for about an hour. And it was so so amazing the spirit that somebody can feel, just because they are near a building! The spirit was so strong as we just sat there and listened.. after we got back from the temple, we watched a devotional by David A Bednar, called "The characters of Christ" and this 2 hour video, completely changed my whole mission! He talked about having a hard time in the mtc, and if you are ever having a really hard time with something, you need to "turn out" and serve. Simply serve. Your companion, or your district, or literally anybody who needs help at all! And after listening to that talk, it really changed my whole perspective on everything.. i was thinking way to much about myself, and not the people i will be teaching in africa! So its a real thing when people say "Just make it to sunday!" 

So, a little about my week, every day we basically do the same thing! We get up at 6:30, and work out, sometimes we play 4 square with our district! (im the 4 square king). And then we eat breakfast, and then we have personal, companion, and language study for an hour each! After that, we have lunch. And then from around 1-5ish, we teach our 'investigators'. (100 % in french!) then after that we have about another hour of just personal study. After that we have dinner! The food here is actually really dang good!! They have BYU creamrey come every week, and they always have free ice cream laid out for us! after dinner, for almost 4 hours, we have french class which is actually really fun now! 

I cant say much though.. i can bare my testimony, i can say a prayer, i can generally talk to someone and get to know them! But theres soooo much more to learn and i cant wait to learn it! My teacher, 'Frere Ritchie' (brother Ritchie) is one of my favorite humans on planet earth. He served In Benin too! He is just so nice, and so loving, and all around just the best teacher i could ask for! 

I love my whole district! Elder Dorsey is from south Carolina, and hes African American. But he rapped for us yesterday! He rapped about the gospel and his testimony! It was straight fire!!! our whole district went crazy after!!! But then we got yelled at for being too loud.. But it was crazy!! 

I love my branch president with all my heart! He is a convert to the church, he played for BYU basketball, and then played for the lakers, and then went over seas and played in some other country! But he is the nicest, oldest, cutest big guy ive ever met! 

To end my email, i would like to share one of my spiritual moments this week! 

So like i said, we have been teaching an investigator, her name is Alice, and she is actually one of the other french teachers. But my companion and i were having a really hard time teaching her, and knowing what to say in the lessons! We taught her 5 times in the past week, and we asked her to be baptized a few times but she just kept telling us no.. And yesterday we went into our lesson, and we didnt have a topic or anything! We went in and said "Alice, ask any questions you want, and we will answer anything you have to say." we expected her to ask about baptism, or repentance, or the priesthood. But all she said was "elder harris, why are you serving a mission?" ... and i basically just told her how much i love the lord, and how much i love my family back at home. I told her how truly happy this gospel has made me in every aspect of my life! And after i said that, she said "Okay i would love to be baptized!"

Even though this was all fake, with a fake investigator, and with a fake house.. the spirit was not fake. and this 10 minute lesson was one of the most spiritual moments of my entire life! 

So, we were both so happy! We ended up setting a date for her baptism, and telling her how much we loved her, and we left! 

This mission is one of the hardest things i have ever done.. and it will just get harder. But I love the lord, I love everything about this gospel and i cant wait to teach it to the people of Africa! 

Thank you all so much for your prayers, and i love you! 

Elder Harris 

P.S. Mom, im so sorry i didnt write you last week! I still love you i promise!!