Monday, December 4, 2017

E-mail (Dated: 12/4/2017) IT'S THE RIGHT TIME

Wow, I feel that it has been a bit since I have written you all. We have been pretty busy these past couple weeks. Even today we have been running. My sweet crew (aka district) and I went on a hike at 7am in the morning and then went laser tagging. It´s our last P-day to do stuff together in this change and maybe for the mission. Elder Gunness, Elder Fillmore, Elder Macias, Elder Bolacio, and Elder Cardenas and I get along really well we are all like brothers. Anyways I will be sending some photos of the day.


Well and this week went well. I admit it was a bit hard, just with us getting into the holiday season and everything. However, it kind of helps that it doesn´t look like the Christmases that I´m used to. Haha but I do go into some stores sometimes just to look at the decorations.

Let me tell you of the progress we had this week. We had four people in sacrament meeting, so that was awesome. But all the people that have baptism dates didn´t show up. This was a little difficult, but it was good to get new investigators there. We had three really solid lessons this week. One with Blanca which was actually really good. She asked us one day as we passed by the house, "Hey chicos, when are we going to have an appointment?" That made us so happy and so we put it for the next day and we taught her the restoration. After which she mentioned how grateful she was and how she said we teach really well and she felt like we didn´t just teach the lesson, but we taught her.
I think this was a learning moment because I believe that everyone at one point or another forgets that everyone is human. Whether it be in work, school, in the home or in the mission. To realize that we aren´t just talking to talk, and we aren´t just listening to let it go in one ear and out the other. Our intention should be to really listen and to give a sincere response.

Another thing we did this week was visit Cristopher. We taught him the law of chastity and the word of wisdom. He accepted it all really well and wanted us to pass by for him to go to church, However, when we showed up on Sunday, he had decided to go with other plans. It was hard because we were so excited.

We also were going to have Yampols baptism, but when the day came his mom had some problems with work and couldn´t go. We tried everything but it just didn´t seem possible.
Then, we had an appointment with Victoria and had the pre-interview which went well. She is ready, we just hope all goes well before the 16th, so that she can be prepared.

We also had some amazing members take care of us this week. I ate gluten on Tuesday and on Wednesday I was really sick. Members were bringing me medicine and food and blankets and it was so kind of them.

I had the chance this week to teach some members how to make crepes. That was fun because I made them like my mom does with syrup and cinnamon and sugar and chocolate and they taught it was so good, but weird at the same time haha.

Anyways that´s about it for this week. We have four people on track to be baptized this change on the 16th and 17th! Pray that God can enter their hearts to have the desire.

Love you all!

- Elder Brandon Harmon

Monday, November 27, 2017

E-mail (Dated: 11/27/17) TRUST THAT GOD WILL LIFT YOU

This last week was full of opportunities! It was good. It started on Monday when we arrived at our appointment with Juan, Juantia, and Josefina. They were moving around their big home tv set/cabinet with all these things in it.  imagine this; this big dresser thing is as tall as me, and they are only half my height while trying to move it around!

Then on Tuesday, we helped Gustavo with making a table and painting a big room! It was a good experience.

Wednesday, we didn´t do service, but what we went with Cristopher! He is a cousin of a member. He attended church once, and we have had two lessons with him. On our second appointment, I invited him to baptism after my companion got done explaining the importance and joy that can come from the decision and he said.... YES! So, we have his baptism date for the 16th of December.
Now, Thursday! We went with Yampol and his mom and helped them move approximately 30 boxes down a three-story building. It was good to help them. They have had a lot of financial troubles and haven´t been able to pay the rent, but they found a good place to move into, as well as find work. However, the trouble is that they will now be out of our area, so we had to pass the reference to other missionaries. But I will still be the one to baptize him with my companion, it will just be in another area. But it was so sweet. They started crying when they heard that we won´t be the missionaries to come and visit them anymore and just sent us off with a wonderful heartfelt prayer.

Also on Thursday, we were invited by Blanca to have crepes with her and with a Hermana from the ward. It was a good moment to get to know her better and to gain her confidence. On Thursday, she asked us to help her iron a few shirts, which is big because it´s her business.

Anyways, a lot of good happened. We have planned Yambol’s baptism for this Saturday, even though it will be in another area.

Also, Josefina for this Sunday and Victoria and Cristopher for the 16th of December.
Anyways, it´s a bit late so I don´t have much time to write. I will inform you all a bit more this next week. I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!


Monday, November 20, 2017

E-mail (Dated: 11/20/2017) LET YOUR HEART GUIDE YOU

I will admit I forgot that this week is Thanksgiving. Hermana Williamson actually reminded me. However, it got me thinking about a couple things. This week we had stake conference and had a member of the seventy come and speak. I´d like to share a couple of the thoughts he shared, as well as some thoughts from a few of the others talks.

First off, I want to ask something. What are the desires of your hearts? When he first asked this, I will be honest that I was a bit perplexed. What does this have to do with this conference and the other themes we have listened to? After a bit of thinking and listening further into his talk, I figured it out! He mentioned that the desires of our hearts will guide us in this life and will also determine what we have in this life. We will take who we are into this life into the next. Not material possessions, but ourselves. Now you might ask what is my point.... Well to put this into the mission perspective and the eternal perspective…. What are the things we should be most grateful for? What are the things we should strive for in this life? I think each and every one of us can figure this out on our own, but I´m going to get in your faces a little.
We are here to become like our Father in Heaven. We are here to grow, personally, but as well as in family. We have been sent to grow in the gospel our Father in Heaven has given us. These three things if we let them will guide us to do and find good. Why? Because if we truly love our Father in Heaven, our family, and this gospel, we will follow the steps of our Redeemer. We will make good decisions. We will attend church. We will make sure that the temple is a goal within families and marriages.

I know families and individuals here and before the mission that have seemed to lose their way from this perfect path that has been placed before them. I think as members we sometimes, more than others, drift off into the dark and dreary for nothing more than curiosity and rebellion. Then, when we finally realize it, we are too ashamed to come back. But I want to extend an invitation, the same one that Jeffery R Holland gave, “COME BACK”. There are people waiting with arms open wide to love and accept you. Nobody can fall lower than the saving hand of the Lord’s atonement.

Now, for those think they are doing alright. Stop it! Never feel comfortable with where you are at. There is a benefit in seeing your faults, not to feel bad about yourself, but more to see where we all need to improve. I´m not saying that anybody needs to feel like they are a sinner, no. But that we need to always look to improve. How can I do this? Pray, read scriptures, attend church. These are the essentials, but another is to serve. Those who stop feeling progression do so because they have stopped helping others. God is constantly giving, and who are we if we are not giving? If we are to become like Him, we need to give like Him.

As a missionary I have been thinking a lot about what I am grateful for. I am grateful for all of you. Those that love me, those that I love, those that have always been there. But more than that, I am grateful for my Father in Heaven that has given me this all and for my Savior that gave everything so that I could have everything. I love this gospel and I love the mission and for my opportunity to serve.

I just want to end by sharing just a little bit of my experiences from this week. I went on splits twice this week and it was really good.  I got to be a Dad (trainer) for a day. I took one of the new kids that arrived this last Monday. That was cool, and it was my first time being with someone new. It was both a moment of teaching and learning. The kid I was with is from Bolivia and he is a little shy. I spent most the day teaching him words used here in Mexico, teaching him how to contact and look for references. It was cool. I didn´t know if he had a good time with me or not, but yesterday we had stake conference and his companion said that he couldn´t stop talking about me the next day. So that made me feel good.

Oh, and one of my favorite moments of this week was my day in the tianguis with the other missionaries (like a mall outside). I was there almost the entire day and I contacted over 200 people, and like 600-800 with the other missionaries. It was a cool experience to have. We had a good setup for drawing people in. The Mission President came, and he gave me a good compliment of how impressed he was with me. It was good teamwork between Elder Fillmore and Elder Cardenas and Elder Moncada and the Hermanas!

The last thing I´d like to share is the lesson we had yesterday. The boy’s name is Cristo and he is fifteen. The appointment was at 8:30pm and we brought Gustavo and his wife to help us in the lesson. We arrived with information that he is very catholic. We didn´t exactly have a plan before we arrived, just that we were going to get to know him. After talking we realized he has a lot of questions of why we are here and who God is. He shared some interesting thoughts and we were able to answer them. Then Elder Macias and Gustavo and I shared a bit of where we can from and why we are here. It was awesome and went very well.

I am just thankful for these opportunities and hoping that we can keep improving. I love you all! Have a very happy Thanksgiving and remember to give thanks for what we have and who we have in this life and remember what in this life will have lasting effect.

Elder Harmon

Monday, November 13, 2017

E-mail (Dated: 11/13/2017) TEACH ONE ANOTHER

Hello my fantastic family! I am grateful for the chance that I get to talk to you all every week. Isn´t it absolutely amazing what our Father in Heaven has given us in this life? We can send a message across the world in seconds, I think this is pretty incredible. Now, I want to apply this to the message that I´m out here sharing every day. To many of us (even missionaries), it seems hard. It seems like a distant task, one that we put off until we are closer to the spirit or have more knowledge. However, as my mission leader says, ¨There are things in life we want to start and there are things that need to start. What needs to happen is to START!¨ I love this, and it´s actually something that we have been focused on all week. Just like my analogy with the internet, we can share a message with others in moments if not seconds. Many think to share something we need to be experts, but it´s those moments where we are spontaneous that can bring miracles! So I want to extend an invitation to you all to remember what our Father has given us. Thank Him in prayer, but also I ask you all to be representatives of Christ. You don´t need a name tag to share with someone the gospel. But you also don´t need to call someone to repentance. Share a smile, show your standards, be an example, offer a prayer. Little things make a difference.

For now, I´d just like to share a bit about my week. We got to visit with a lot of families. We visited with Josefina, Juanita´s sister! It was interesting. She was participating and listening and all, but when we got to the end we tried making a commitment for her to pray, but when we invited her she just looked at the photos and she started talking about them, almost as if she wasn´t all the way there. It was a bit odd. Then Juan told us that sometimes she is in and out, so we will see with her. However, she is attending church and taking the discussions. We are hoping we can get through to her to be able to set a baptism date.

We also had the chance to visit with Erandi and Ilean. They do really good to pay attention and all, but it´s so hard to get them to church. They promise that this week they will come so we will pray that they will make it.

We saw Victoria and Yampol as well. Yampol wasn´t baptized as was hoped, but we have a new date which is the 25th. We are really pushing to get him to church. It seems to be the only thing that is difficult for him. As for Victoria, she is progressing and she is attending. She is a smart little 9-year-old. You´d think she was 16 or something.

Now, we found a new investigator as well this week and his name is Cristo. We have an appointment with him on Thursday. I´m excited! He is 16 and he came to church and we are really looking forward to meeting with him.

Blanca and Nayeli and Yaneli are still progressing, but they didn´t come to church yesterday. We are going to get in contact with them tonight and set appointments! We have a lot of work to do, but we are enjoying the process.

We also got to enjoy the week by teaching our English classes, which are going great. Then we got to go with our assistants for a bit, as well as with some other Elders today. We enjoyed the day.

Some funny comments this last week:

(Walking down a road to go meet up with some Elders)
- Wow his eyes are so beautiful!
- Will you be my boyfriend?
- He is so huge

(In the church)
-Do you play for the NBA? (other person) No he can´t play for the NBA, because NBA stands for Negros Bien Altos, and he is White (wuero).
- Dad: Look honey isn´t he tall. Daughter: WHOA!

Anyways, we have a lot that we are doing and really enjoying the time in the mission! I hope you´re all amazing and have an amazing week! Love you all!

-Elder Harmon


Monday, November 6, 2017

E-mail (Dated: 11/6/2017) RUNNING FOR SALVATION

You are all probably wondering why my subject this week is ¨running for salvation¨ haha! I have an explanation. On Tuesday I was on divisions with my zone leader Elder Vazquez! We spent about the entire day contacting, searching for references and going to appointments. When it got dark we decided to go to a park, and at nights there are almost always people doing exercise. Anyways, we arrived and there was this 20 to 25-year-old lady running with her big pit bull. Elder Vazquez goes, “well... Elder Harmon, it´s your turn!” So, I got in her path and tried introducing who we are and she said, “I don´t have time to stop.” So... I said, “that´s no problem!” and I started running with her, even though I was terrified that her dog would eat me😱 I shared a small part of what we teach as representatives of Jesus Christ and in this moment she went and hid behind a tree trying to juke me out. In the end, I finally presented her with a card and then let her go. Haha, I felt like the guy from the best two years! But this is what we do as missionaries!

We have a saying when we contact. 1st try is their salvation, 2nd try is our salvation, and 3rd try is just to annoy them! But I love it, I love the mission!

Anyways. You all probably want to know about what happened with our baptisms! So, they fell through... but the good thing is that we put new dates on the calendar!! Yampol and his mom just are going through a tough financial crisis right now and she wasn´t able to have work off for his baptism, and so we got a date that works, which is the 13th of this month!!! Then, for the Hernandez boys, we changed their date to the 25th of this month! Also for this month, we have another date for the 25th of this month for a girl named Victoria! In addition, we are setting 6 more dates this month, for Blance, then Elane and Elane, the other twins, and Juanita's sister! So, we have a lot of work to do!

We just had transfers as well and we stay the same! This will be good because Elder Macias and I get along great and we will be able to finish the work we started together. We just pray that we will have the spirit with us and that it will testify to these people to help guide them to this truth!

We also had a conference with Elder Pino from the Seventy and it went really well. He talked a lot about our callings and how we have been called. He also mentioned how success it not based upon your baptisms, your contacts or anything. It´s about your effort. If we are giving our best, if we are giving our maximum, we are having success, because it means we are giving it all to the Lord.

We learn not to glory in ourselves, but rather to give glory to our Father in Heaven.

I have been blessed this week to have prayed to my Heavenly Father for help and guidance, and I will say that he gave me just that. I also see that it isn´t just me, but you all as well! Thank you all for sharing your experiences and love!

I love you all!

Have a great and lovely week,

-Elder Harmon

Monday, October 30, 2017

E-mail (Dated: 10/30/2017) HUMILITY

Hi Fam. 

This was a tender week for me. We started out with a great meeting with the zone playing all sorts of games and activities. I can't even tell you all how good it feels to be able to exercise and everything without pain. 

On Tuesday we had our district meeting. My companion and I were in control of the discussion. We did an activity with a box. We had everyone write a sin they have that they want to get rid of on a piece of paper, fold it up and put it in the box. Then we instructed them to stab the box to get rid of this sin. They didn't even think to know what they were doing, they just wanted to get rid of what they had done. After this, we opened the box. They came to find that there was a picture of Christ inside that they had so brutally destroyed. I related to this how sometimes we sin without thinking what the consequences are. Sometimes, we don´t recognize he who gave it all to save us. It was a humbling experience for us all to remember that we all sin, but Christ, whether we want him to or not, is going to carry this burden. However, it is by him that we are also saved. 

Saturday, we had a fantastic conference with President. He really is helping us so much to grow here as a mission. He gave some great insights on the Book of Mormon, and why it is so important for us to receive a testimony of it. I felt that it was a bump in the head telling me to work harder to understand its teachings because I will admit, I am still learning to use it and testify of it, even though I do have a testimony of this grand and glorious book. 

We also had interviews with President! It is amazing to talk with him. He used to start by asking a ton of questions; however, this time he just said, “Tell me what you got for me Elder Harmon.” I just shared talks, experiences, hardships, and spiritual moments with him. He is a great person to listen and to help me with all that I have going on. He and I had a tender experience that I won´t share, but I will say that through whatever troubles, we are given leaders to guide us and to help us. 

Now, we went with Yampol this week, it was good to see and talk with him. We actually went two times. He spilt his toenail and it was pretty bad so we brought him bandages and Neosporin to stop any infection. We were also just preparing him for his baptism for this weekend! He is ready and we are excited!

We are going to see the Hernandez kids on Thursday.  We hope for them to be baptized as well. Haha, little kids are almost more stubborn than adults in accepting the gospel. At the same time, they tend to be more in tune with the spirit. I hope to be able to help them feel that it is the right decision and that by following through it will bring them closer to our Father in Heaven. 

I will admit that at times, I just wonder why people don´t receive this message. Sometimes I don´t want to approach some people because I just think it´s not going to make a difference. But I have to stop my mind from doing that. I realize that I need more humility and I know that I can receive that from praying and trying to be like my Savior. Many have rejected and scorned us, but I have found peace in my heart to still love those people. I am still working on it and I am grateful for the opportunity to work on my imperfections.

So, in summary, it was a full week of references and work. We have changes in two weeks and I am possibly going to train. It´s what everyone is telling me, but we will see! 

P.S MOM I CAN EAT POPCORN! But corn tortillas here still hurt me a lot!

I love you all!

Zone Conference

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Letter to Ward (Dated: 10/25/2017) The Miracles of the Mission

Hola Hola my wonderful ward family!

I would just like to start off by saying how blessed we all are. Being out in the mission is a big eye opener for anyone that decides to give these 2 years or 18 months to the Lord. I´d like to say that God gives those that are in his service a new pair of eyes. A way to see others the way that he sees them, but more than that, a way for us to see ourselves as something more. We have been called as a chosen generation, to bring the gospel to the world. It is something that isn´t always easy in fact it isn´t easy at all. To see people every day that curse God, blame God, and cry out to him in anger or frustration....well, it´s heartbreaking. We have a plan. In this plan is happiness that we can find in no other way. We have been taught that if we are to find the most joy in this life, it is by living and sharing this gospel. I have been told many times in the mission by others that are not of our faith, "Well, I believe that all faiths are the same and it doesn´t matter which church you attend, it just matters how you feel about where you are at." When I hear this I just want to cry out and ask questions like, "If this is true, why do you speak with a vulgar language? Why do you think you don´t deserve better in this life? Why do you not respect yourself? Why do you continue to feel lost?"

When we ask these questions, common responses are that many people are content with the decisions they have made and have chosen to live with. Others don´t believe there is forgiveness for the things they have done. When we encounter this, which is quite often, I just want to shake these people and say, ¨OPEN YOUR EYES! ¨ We have a Father in Heaven and a Savior who is Christ the Lord who loves us dearly! Our Father sent us his only begotten to save us from death, but not only that, if we truly repent we can be relieved of our burdens. What a perfect message we have been given with the knowledge of the Atonement.

I give my testimony that we are not here on this earth to suffer and go through the trials of life alone. Rather, we are here to find and experience the wonder and amazement of this life. We are here to be in families, to grow together as spiritual and earthly siblings, to find our Heavenly Father, to discover true joy and the peace He has planned for us. This all so that we can become like him. To find our Savior who is Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, our brother....through whom all is possible. This is why we are here.

We find less active members weekly that have fallen away from this truth. We find others in the streets, in houses, and all around who are our brothers and sisters yet they are lost. They don´t know we are siblings, they don´t know God has a plan for them, but we do. This is something I wish I would´ve understood and acted on better before the mission. To be a better example and to share this message. To reach more people that could have benefited from my voice and testimony of these truths. Like Jeffery R. Holland says, "we all have a voice in the choir." I know how true that is. I have seen it. I also know people are waiting to hear our voices/your voices. Maybe a friend, a co-worker, or less active member.

We need to remind people that when we hurt or when the world shakes, it isn´t God punishing us. What it is, is a chance for us to grow closer to him. We are imperfect people, in an imperfect world. We don´t need judgment, we don´t need to rebel. What we need is to grow closer to Him.....He that can calm any storm, He who can bring peace to any broken heart, and He who can bring purpose to any soul who seems to be too far gone. Christ. He who is always searching, to bring us all back to the fold.

In my new area, we have received so much help from the members. In fact, we wouldn´t have the investigators or the church attendance that we have without the natural love and help of the members here. We all have a part to play, and purpose in this plan God has created.

I love you all. Your fasting, your prayers, and your support have helped me more than I will ever be able to thank you enough for.

I never knew the kind of effect that the mission could have on my life. It has helped me to see that I needed to change. I remember a quote shared to me by my brother when I was getting ready to leave. "The mission won´t change us, but we choose to change for the mission." To teach people with a force beyond our own, to see water in the eyes of our investigators. To see someone baptized after 6 months of teaching. To see a convert bring their family to the gospel. These experiences are why I have grown to love the mission. It has been really difficult, but like another quote from Jeffery R. Holland, "if we are to bring someone to the truth, unto salvation, we are going to have to pay a token of the pain Christ suffered for us."

I am happy to say I am a representative of the Lord, Jesus Christ. Also to say that I have the Highland 5th ward, and many other loved ones supporting me. I feel your love.

I love you all.

-Elder Brandon Dean Harmon