Monday, January 15, 2018

E-mail (Dated: 1/15/2018) Trust That You Will Be Wrapped In the Arms of Our Savior

Hi Everyone,

I was just reading some messages that I received today and saw some quotes sent to me by my mom. There is one with the picture of a dad tossing his baby into the air. I´d like to relate this to life. Sometimes we are tossed and for just a brief second we feel fear, anxiety, and far away from our Savior and our Father in Heaven. It´s in these moments that we as humans begin to fall into the hands of the satan. Why? Because we forget that Gods hands are still there to help us. He is guiding us into a safe landing. He gives us these tosses not to punish us, but so we can find him and so that we can truly recognize the true joy of life. Think about when a baby is tossed up into the air, at first you see their eyes fill with fear and get as big as a guinea pig's eyes. However, when they are caught, they get the biggest smile on their face. They do this because they start to realize the love their father has for them, the trust they can put in him, and that he is always there.

I want to share how this has played into my week. I have been here in my area for the past 6 months. I have taught some of the same people over this period of time, we have put several baptism dates for pretty much all of them. However, something has kept going wrong every time, and it would get postponed. For a while, I just thought God wasn´t able to get them back into his arms because of their stubbornness and excuses. But I found something new with the way I am now going to view things in the mission. I am learning that Gods timing does not just come in his time, but with the desire of those searching. He knows all and knows who's ready, but something very important in his plan is agency.  It´s not for me to get impatient, but to keep giving my love and helping them. This past week on Tuesday I was able to go and talk to Victoria and her family and I walked in and the first thing they said to me was, ¨When are you going to baptize my daughter?¨ I was surprised by this but immediately said, "Well, we feel that she is ready and we would like to put her baptism date for this Saturday." So.... Brothers and Sisters, we welcomed a new member of our Family into Gods pathway this weekend. Victoria Robledo Rodriguez.

Another experience that I´d like to share is about a man named Javier. My companion and I had been checking some references that turned out to be fake. Feeling a little upset and unmotivated we started making our way back to the bus stop. On the way down a long street, I saw a man walking his dog. I felt this need to talk to him, but I was a little nervous. I said, Good afternoon and almost at the same time he said in broken English, "Are you those Mormons?" A little confused I said, "Yes we are!" He said, "I have been looking for your church for almost a year now, but I haven´t been able to find any missionaries." He then asked if we could teach him something. We agreed to go to his house and share something. Once at his home he shared with us that the path he took home that night was not the normal path he takes. But as he began walking home his dog started pulling him another way, and after fighting for a moment, he just gave in and followed the dog. He said, "It turned out that the dog found you two and got really happy when he saw the two of you."

I like to take these two experiences to show how God brings his children back into his arms, I like to say that God puts a plan into motion, but sometimes we are the key to completing it. However, he still puts that constant guide to help us.

Remember that we have been ever so blessed with the promise that he will never leave us.

I am great and I love you all. Have a fantastic week!

Elder Brandon Dean Harmon (Remember Who You Are!)

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Monday, January 8, 2018

E-mail (Dated: 1/8/2018) THE LIVING WORD

Hello my loved ones,

One thing I have been thinking about for the past couple weeks is ¨GODS WORD¨ I think it´s something that we hear a lot. But what is the message? The phrase in itself is perfect. The message which brings God's word is perfect. But how do we get this beautiful word? We receive it in many different ways. One of them happens to be prophets. Prophet - is a seer, and revelator. Someone that is a humble servant of the Lord, that acts in the example of our Savior Jesus Christ to lead and guide the church. Who has received the correct keys, who worthily receives revelation from our Father in Heaven.

As many of you know, this last week on Tuesday at 10 pm our Father took home one of his loved and precious children. Someone that took every moment of his life and calling to make others feel loved. He is someone whose words have changed my life, and many of yours. His beloved name is Thomas S. Monson

Many of his famous quotes:

  • Choose your love, Love your choice.
  • Choose your friends with caution; plan your future with purpose, and frame your life with faith.
  • The principles of living greatly include the capacity to face trouble with courage, disappointment with cheerfulness, and trial with humility.
  • Faith and doubt cannot exist in the same mind at the same time, for one will dispel the other.
  • Courage, not compromise, brings the smile of God's approval.
  • Work will win when wishy washy wishing won t.
  • Amidst the confusion of the times, the conflicts of conscience, and the turmoil of daily living, an abiding faith becomes an anchor to our lives.
  • Perhaps the surest test of an individual's integrity is his refusal to do or say anything that would damage his self-respect.
  • I wasn't with Joseph, but I believe him. My faith did not come to me through science, and I will not permit so-called science to destroy it.
  • We must not let our passions destroy our dreams. 

He was a just man, he wasn´t perfect, but he showed the perfect example of trying to be like Christ. May his family be blessed during this hard loss, but rejoice because of  the wonderful plan that he spent his life teaching and that lets us know that all will be okay and that we will all rise again.
I love him. I love his example. I love what he taught us.

My week went well; however, we are still just trying to find more people to teach. Almost all of our contacts this week have been from different states on visits. Our investigators are starting to come back from their trips. We actually had one teach with Blanca this last week. She has told us that she will be baptized this month, so that made me really excited. She is just waiting to put down her baptism date. She also told me that she would like for us to start teaching her daughter that is 17. This week we will get to meet with her.

Also, something really cool happened. Do you all remember Ricardo? He called us the other day to set an appointment with us. He wants to be baptized and he wants his family to be taught. Tonight we have an appointment with him at 8pm.

I am starting to see some tender blessings.

Training is going well. We have three white boys in the house so we speak a lot of English😬 But my companion would really like to learn English, so he kind of likes it. But these three are actually all working good with me to fix my grammar and pronunciation with my words in Spanish. But yeah, all is good that way. It has been tough to train though with all of these holidays because we don´t get too much practice.

As for being district leader, it is well and I am learning a lot. I have been good to bring my district together. We actually have an activity planned today to play table games and make crepes and to go out to eat together. I do get stressed with having to report numbers because I don´t like only thinking about numbers. So, I am trying to help find goals that are reasonable and meaningful.

I loved a quote that my mom shared from Gordon B. Hinkley. We have had some tough couple weeks here with the holidays, but the quote says:

It isn’t as bad as you sometimes think it is.
It all works out. Don’t worry.
I say that to myself every morning.
It will all work out.
Put your trust in God,
and move forward with faith
and confidence in the future.
The Lord will not forsake us.
He will not forsake us.
If we will put our trust in Him,
if we will pray to Him,
if we will live worthy of His blessings,
He will hear our prayers.

I think it´s a message we can all take in.

I love you all and have a great week.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

E-mail (Dated: 1/2/2018) REFLECTION

This year has been what I´d call a never-ending growing experience. My goal this year is to make it the same. I have had a lot of time to reflect and to become more of the man our Father in Heaven wants me to become. However, I know that there is a lot more growth there. One thing I love about the message we share is that we never know everything. We are on a path of never-ending education. We fall we hurt, we smile we laugh, we scream we cry, we have happiness we have joy. The thing is we have every one of these things to gain a new experience. We go through an experience to progress. Without progression, we fall, and we lose what true joy really is.

The other thing that I´ve realized is that people matter. Yesterday I was with my companions at a plaza and we came across one of my buddies that I had made with Elder Macias. We began to chat with him and he is just torn apart. He loves his family, but his decisions and other experiences have led him to drugs. He tells us about how his old girlfriend won´t let him see his daughter, and how his mom hates him. He was totally beside himself crying because he was so alone. He knows what´s important, but he let something take him away from all that happiness.

That´s like us. I know it´s like me. There are moments that we let other things come before family. However, that is the opposite of what our father has planned for us. God has foreordained families. We came to this earth to become like him, we have come to experience his full joy, well if you think about it. We are his full joy, so the best way to become like him is to love all and serve all.

So. As you are all making your new years resolutions, why don´t we all take a moment to realize how we can make a goal to show more love to others.

I realize that I don´t baptize converts, I baptize my family. I don´t teach strangers, I teach my best friends. It´s a progress but I have come to love those that I have met. People are converted when they find love and joy.

I love you all, and hope you all had a great Christmas and New Years!

- Love Elder Harmon

Monday, December 18, 2017

E-mail (Dated: 12/18/2017) "IT´S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE...."

This week was a moment of reflection, and for me, an opportunity to really look around and see where I´m at, what I can do better, and who I can help more.

At the start of the week we had gone to see Nayeli, Yaneli and Josefina only to find out that while they are very interested in the church, they would like more time to learn. We took this opportunity to get to know them better and to make them feel comfortable. After doing this, we were able to teach the restoration. We invited them to baptism and they declined. However, they told us that they want to be taught and want to come to know of the truth of these things. That right there was an opening to what I´d like to call, “IT’S STARTING TO LOOK LIKE PROGRESSION” which is really what we are trying to do as missionaries, so we left happy that day.

We went with Victoria as well who was planning to be baptized, but this week her mom was called in for work and couldn´t make it so we had to change it for this next Saturday. This I call a “IT’S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE A WHITE CHRISTMAS” Her baptism will be a fun story for her to tell one day to her family, that she was baptized on the 24th of December. What better way to remember and follow in the Lord’s example than to enter into the waters of baptism, a path that will bring you more peace, love, and happiness than any other gift.

There were multiple times this week that we talked with Blanca. She was super happy and filled with light all week. After the weekend when we saw her again she screamed, “Hi Chicos” and brought us breakfast. However, we decided we´d wait to be able to talk to her. Wednesday came and we had an appointment with her and we asked her how she was feeling about baptism. She had received her answer that it´s the right decision. However, would like to be able to know more about what we do within the church and things like the word of wisdom and other things, because we haven´t gotten to that part yet. So, we postponed her baptism, but she will be baptized. This is what I call “IT’S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE THE BLESSINGS OF THE LORD”. I mean every single of one these people are a blessing. But there is a way she looked, which I would describe as the spirit of God.

We all have so many blessings and sometimes we just need to say, “IT’S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE THE HAND OF THE LORD IN MY LIFE”, because his hand has been there. We don´t always see it so what we need to do is begin to see these blessings he has placed before us.

Now, I know you all want to know about my transfers. So, I lost my companion Elder Macias. We had a good 5 changes together and we got along great and I learned a lot from him. However, the Lord needs him on another side. He was called as District Leader in Leon. As for me, well, I was called to TRAIN, and to be District Leader here in El SOL (Queretaro). My companion is awesome, his name is Elder Vazques and he is from Puebla. He came with the desire to learn and to work hard, and I really feel blessed to be his trainer.

This week they also opened up Cimatario 2 with two elders, named Elder Moytir from Canada and Elder Walker from Arizona. They don´t know the area so I am kind of teaching them all. It´s awesome, because it shows that both my President and my Heavenly Father are trusting in me. I am really excited and I´m seeing the helping hand of the Lord in my life.

The next time I talk with you guys I will be doing it over a video call. I love you all and have a very Merry Christmas. Feel happy, because the Lord has given us much.

Elder Harmon (Let me know if there is anything more I can do for any of you!)

Monday, December 11, 2017

E-mail (Dated: 12/11/2017) DO YOU HEAR WHAT I HEAR?

This week was very special. My companion and I have been putting in a little extra effort to be able to have the baptisms that we have planned for this next Saturday. We were able to visit almost all of the investigators a couple times this last week.

You are all probably wondering why I put the lyrics of a Christmas song as my subject. I´d like to explain why. First off, it´s a fantastic song for the holiday season, but also it has a new spiritual meaning to me. Within the song, it talks about a voice as big as the sea. I´d like to say that this voice is the spirit. As members and especially as missionaries we try to invite the spirit to every conversation that we teach. Often when we speak to others, we are implying without saying, do you hear what I hear?

This last week we had a lesson with Blanca, who we are renting the house from. We started out the lesson with a prayer, after which she asked us if we could explain why we pray the way we do and why it´s different from the Catholic prayer. My companion had gone upstairs to grab something while I answered her question. I got to explain to her the relationship she has with Heavenly Father. I explained his desire to listen to us, and how much he truly loves her. I explained that prayer is personal, that it´s a way to build a relationship with our Father and His wish that we will use it to draw closer to Him. This is something basic that we all learn in the church, but I think it´s one of the things we teach that is the most powerful. When I saw the look on her face and the tears streaming down her eyes, I knew that it was something she had been looking to hear. We continued the lesson. We taught L3 including faith, repentance, baptism, the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. However, we taught it a little differently. We included parts from all the different lessons and we did it in such a way that we knew we weren´t the ones teaching. We had talked with a member earlier on in the day that helped us find new ways of teaching. I had asked him what I should do to teach more calmly and with the smaller vocabulary that I have. He answered with this, ¨Do you believe that God is the almighty? Because if you do, you believe he can accomplish all, so what makes you think that he can´t help you with speaking more fluently and with power and calmness?¨ He said, "If you want to have a good lesson, close your mouth to what you want to say and let the spirit take over and our Father will speak through you."

This is exactly what we had done with Blanca. We know that there are things in her life from the message we shared that she has needed to understand. My companion talked beautifully of the repentance process and I spoke of the atoning sacrifice of our Savior. We then tag-teamed with baptism, the confirmation process and of the sacredness of the covenants we make. We shed more tears together through this spiritual and humbling experience. At the end of the lesson, after my companion finished with the promises and blessings of enduring to the end, I then took a minute for her to just feel the spirit, and then invited her to baptism. Then with tears in her eyes, she responded that she is scared because she doesn´t know everything, but that there is something that she feels so powerfully. We made a promise to her about how faith isn´t a perfect knowledge of things, but that it is a meaning of hope and of the love of our Savior. We promised her as representatives of Jesus Christ that if she prays, God will give her the answer and so she agreed to pray to receive her answer this week.

This is probably my favorite lesson that I´ve had so far in the mission. It taught me so much about the true meaning of what we teach. There are people that suffer every day with doubts and confusion. What they need is sincerity, love and the message that our Father has so wonderfully and freely given us. I am proud to say that I AM A REPRESENTATIVE OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.

We had many other wonderful experiences and I wish I could write them all but I think I will start and end with this one.

Now, just a couple of other things, I had my interview with my President and he wants me to train. So, this next change, which is next Wednesday, I will be preparing to train. It is an exciting experience and I think it will teach me a lot.

We had the twins attend church, so we are going to try and set their baptism date for the 17th of December! Pray for them!

I am doing so well, I am on a bit later because we went with our zone leaders and other missionaries to play soccer and eat! I love you all! Have a MERRY CHRISTMAS! SHARE THE MESSAGE OF "DO YOU HEAR WHAT I HEAR?" There is someone that is waiting for us to share the spirit that we carry.

MWAH LES AMO! - Elder Harmon

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