Benin, Africa

Benin, Africa

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!)