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

Monday, October 23, 2017

E-mail (Dated: 10/23/2017) GOD HAS PEOPLE READY

What a fantastic week we had! Lots of tender blessings being able to see the work of the spirit touch the hearts of many.

We started out this week with a phone call from Yampol. He is a boy that we had found in the carpeta de area, who had been dropped by the missionaries. We contacted him about 7 weeks ago with his family, but they had stopped contact with us. However, in this phone call we heard the voice of his mother begging us to come teach her son. Right now they are in a bit of a financial crisis. She is working every day all day from Monday to Sunday, but she just got let go and is searching for a new job. She says she´d like her son to be baptized and so we set an appointment. We went over and did a basic get to know you. He is 12 years old, but very intelligent. They immediately took out their BOM and Bible the moment that we arrived. Their scriptures were just filled with highlights and bookmarks. After talking for a bit we realized that with the past missionaries he has set a baptism date even though it did not go through. So, we did the baptismal interview just to see what he knew. Like I said, very intelligent! We had the chance to invite him to be baptized for the 4th of November, and ......HE ACCEPTED!!!!

Now, I want to just jump to yesterday at church. This week we have worked really hard to get people to church. In fact, we went a little overboard just to get rides and everything for them. Now I want to tell you guys the results!!!

We had Yampol and his mom come this last week and they came in with the ward mission leaders that bought them for us. After arriving, immediately after sitting down, they made eye contact with us and told the mission leader that he wanted to sit by the missionaries and then he ran over to sit by us!

Then, Blanca saw us. She is the person we are renting the apartment from. Very very nice lady and she has told us she wanted to come, and SHE DID!!! We got the help of a sister in our ward that is her friend to bring her! What was really cool is she said that she really liked all the services and wants to return. She also found out she has many other friends who also are members. Great moment to see her making connections!

Then, we had four other people come, two grandparents who weren´t too excited to be there haha. But also a young kid named Sostenes, and we actually have an appointment this week to visit him. He is there because he says that he wants to change who he is. I think that is awesome and he is also going to come to the English classes that I´m going to teach.

Now, Alfredo Lugo. He was on the streets and a member invited him to come with her to the church. From there, we took over and got to know him. He is in the middle of some family problems and is really looking for guidance and the gospel. He is very humble and kind and I also talked with him and put an appointment for him this week.

Our gospel principles class yesterday was so full. I´m not saying this to gloat. But to see our converts there, with family and the spirit in the room….well what can I say, there isn´t anything much better than to see families growing together in the house of our Lord and Savior.

Besides from this, we just has a fantastic zone activity. They had hamburgers and I ate them with lettuce, and after which we played basketball, soccer, and volleyball. I really got to know a lot more of the zone!

Also, we had two Elders stay with us last night. We had the zone activity and it was less time and less money to go there together. We played Uno, drank mate, which is really weird, and then put the beds together to fit us all. Hahah they are from Canada and Argentina, and it´s Elder Gunness and Elder Bolacio! Plus, it´s Elder Bolacios birthday today so we celebrated a bit!

But wow, what a great week, and if you want to know anything specifically let me know! I love you and send you all my prayers.

Monday, October 16, 2017

E-mail (Dated: 10/16/2017) GLUTEN FREE, MEANS PAIN FREE

I am guessing you all want to know how my health is so I will get that out of the way first! I stopped eating all type of bread or gluten product, and my body is really improving. The past three to four days I have felt much more normal and did not feel any pain, nor any other effects that I have felt the last 8 months! WAHOOO!!!

Now, as for this week!

Tuesday, we had an appointment with Erandi and Elane again. If you remember the last week they had asked a lot of questions such as: Where do we come from? Where are we going after this life? and Why are we here? It was so cool to take this lesson to them to answer all of their doubts, and things we like to call ¨Questions of the soul¨. They were so interested and actually taking notes on what we were saying and writing down more questions. By the end of the lesson, we could tell we needed to invite them to baptism. We have their baptism set for 4th of Nov.! HOW AMAZING IS THAT????

Now, Ricardo canceled again but that is because he had special changes at work this last week. But we will meet with this family this Wednesday!!! We will also be inviting them to baptism!!!!!

A couple other really cool moments were the splits we had this week. On one of them, I went with Elder May and Elder Bolacio! We had a good time contacting, and going to lessons. We arrived at one house imparticular and it was a 17-year-old girl. We were actually looking for her siblings who are less active. We found out they weren´t there, but she invited us in. After talking for a small period, we found out she is a member. She hasn´t been to church for 8 years! So we got to invite her, and she agreed to come back. Then when we were about to leave we asked if she would be willing to end the meeting with a prayer. After a moment, she started crying, she said it had been so long since the last time she talked to our  Father in Heaven. It seemed that she did not feel worthy to offer a prayer so we helped her with that. After this visit, we realized something. There are so many less active members out there that we don´t even know about. They are waiting for us, as missionaries, but also as members to remind them that they are always welcome.

Then Saturday, we had a day as a zone to go help a missionary activity with a ward. We got split into companionships with the youth to teach them the ropes of being a missionary. I was given a 17-year-old named Aramis (yes like the three musketeers). I got to teach him to contact and to make appointments, and how to teach people. He learned real quick that it isn´t too easy to go up to someone randomly and to begin to start talking about the gospel. After a few attempts, he said Elder Harmon I need help. In the end, after getting two appointments set up, finding 5 future investigators and getting a total of 15 contacts, he had a different view on missionary work. He told us that he has a new reason to for why he wants to serve a mission. He said, "Wow, just in these short hours we blessed a lot of people, and I´m sure that for doing this God is blessing our families." So, it was just cool to help a youth for the day to gain a new perspective of the mission.

Now, the last thing I´d like to share! We got invited to a family home evening with the family Hernandez yesterday. They are a less active family, and they actually have two kids, age 9 and 10 who are actually now new investigators. We arrived and the Sister then said, "I didn´t plan anything, could you guys take over?" We had 12 people there and so I took the lesson and taught a small bit about God's plan for us, and about faith and love that enable blessings and happiness beyond what we can imagine! Then Elder Macias started some games that are so fun and we got everyone laughing and playing! It felt like being with the family. We adjusted really quickly to them and it just felt... GOOD! I can´t explain it! We gained their confidence and they are actually going to have us go back to visit and teach their sons this Thursday! So....just some awesome blessings, plus we are going to invite them to baptism this next appointment!

Lots and lots happening! Thank you all for your love and prayers! We are doing well here!

Love, Elder Harmon!

Audio File


Monday, October 9, 2017

E-mail (Dated: 10/9/2017) LOOKING FOR ANGELS

I had a bit of time this last week to ponder about the mission, I also read a letter I had recireceivedile back from Dad. He had mentioned how much the mission life will guide and help me in this life. He also shared how it will help me view things in this life, and to pick out what really has lasting significance.

This week was pretty slow in terms of lessons. We had a lot of people cancel. However, it´s the lessons and opportunities that we did have this last week that really opened my eyes. I would like to share a few of these moments.

This week we found the family of five that we had been looking for, who still have two family members that are not baptized. They are Elane and Erandi! Those in the family who are members are less active less active. We had an appointment this last Sunday to meet with the whole family. Yesterday, we went over and just started to chat. Then I asked them all, "Hey, what is something you would all like to know about us?" This is when it got interesting. The daughter who is 17 years old and is a member asked, "Why are you guys here?" As in why did we choose to serve. I decided to let my companion go first and tell them why he is here. Then I took my time and bare testimony of the atonement and the plan of salvation, sharing a few my experiences to let them know what built up my testimony to come out on the mission. When I finished I asked them if they had any more questions. Then, all of them said, "Actually, from your testimony I have a lot of questions about this life and for the one to come." We agreed to give them a plan of salvation pamphlet and told them to write down all their questions and this Tuesday we will come back again and answer them all.

That was a tender moment because there are many people I have come into contact with and we always ask if they have ever had questions about where they come from, why they are here, and where they are going. Usually, they tell us no and it doesn´t interest them to know. But sometimes we find those people that give us a bit of time to share testimony and that´s when they start to realize that hey, I really have had this question before. It is these moments that I feel I am here for. To help others realize the greater, perfect plan that our Father in Heaven has for us all.

This last week we also stopped by Juan's barber shop and helped him fix a few things and to just chat. I feel so much love for this man. We are already so close with him and I consider him a great friend. Yesterday in church, I went and stopped and started chatting with he and Juanita. I set an appointment for today at 8pm. I think they are going to invite their granddaughters and sister-in-law. So maybe we can teach them as well!

Also, our appointment with Ricardo fell through; however, I sent him a message and called him about every day checking in on him. We finally got an appointment for tomorrow at 7pm with him! And, we are going to put a baptism date for the 28th!!!!! We are so excited!

Those were the highlights of this last week. We had a lot of moving we still had to do, and we actually helped a member with the baptism of his daughter, Denys. We also got invited to her birthday party, so that was a lot of fun, especially since it was just about all the members there!!

Now, there is one more thing. So we now know what it is with my health. We went to the hospital 4 times this last week and got some time with doctor Vazquez. It turns out that I have an allergy to gluten. That is why almost every day I feel bloating and pain and why I have basically lived in the bathroom. It's from all the tortillas and cereal and bread that I have been eating! So, looks like no more pizza or tortas or hamburgers and other things for me! hahah. So so so sad! But at least we now know! We are just running one more test to make sure that this is for sure what I have, so if you could, like I know you´re all doing, just keep me in your prayers. Also, I just want to thank you all for your fasting! I had so much to do this last week, and I know that your faith, prayers, and fasting is what got me through it!

I love you all!}

Now just a quote to end this!

Salvation is a personal thing, but the exaltation is in a family.- some guy I can´t remember haha

Audio File